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Prosecuting Homicide

Murder and manslaughter are two of the offences that constitute homicide.

Manslaughter can be committed in one of three ways:

  1. killing with the intent for murder but where there is provocation, diminished responsibility or a suicide pact.
  2. conduct that was grossly negligent given the risk of death, and resulted in death.
  3. conduct, taking the form of an unlawful act involving a danger of some harm, that caused death.

With some exceptions, the crime of murder is committed, where a person:

  • of sound mind and discretion (i.e. sane):
  • unlawfully kills (i.e. not self-defence or other justified killing)
  • any reasonable creature (human being)
  • in being (born alive and breathing through its own lungs)
  • under the Queen's Peace
  • with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.

There are other specific homicide offences, for example, infanticide, causing death by dangerous driving, and corporate manslaughter.

Find out more about prosecuting homicide

Crimes involving young people

Young people as victims and witnesses

Being a victim or a witness to a crime is not easy, but we work hard to bring offenders to justice. Throughout the justice process we will support young victims and witnesses and treat them with dignity.

Find out more about how we support young victims and witnesses

Youth crime

The Crown Prosecution Service acts in partnership with other agencies such as the police, the youth justice board, children's services, courts and youth offending teams. Each area of the CPS has a youth justice specialist who oversees the prosecution of youth crime in their area.

Find out more about how we prosecute youth crime

Ian and Angela Gay not guilty of toddler's manslaughter


The CPS today explained its decision to pursue a retrial in the case of Ian and Angela Gay, who were acquitted of the manslaughter of their foster son, three-year old Christian Blewitt, following a retrial at Nottingham Crown Court.

Reviewing lawyer, Mr Charles Hardy, said: "Christian died following a four day fight for his life in intensive care. Having heard all the evidence, the jury has acquitted Ian and Angela Gay of involvement in his death."

This was the second time that Ian and Angela Gay have been tried for the manslaughter of Christian. The original conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in April 2006, which ordered a retrial following a new expert's report submitted by the defence.

Mr Hardy said: "The role of the CPS is to apply the Code for Crown Prosecutors; that is to examine the evidence and determine whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction and whether it is in the public interest to bring criminal proceedings.

"The Court of Appeal heard fresh medical evidence, quashed the conviction for manslaughter and ordered a retrial. It did not criticise the CPS for bringing this case. In the light of the new medical evidence, we believe we were right to place it before a jury for the second time.

"I am satisifed that the CPS fulfilled its duty under the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Our thoughts today are with Christian's family."

  1. On 13 January 2005, Ian and Angela Gay were found guilty of the manslaughter of three year old Christian Blewitt, and were subsequently sentenced to five years in jail.
  2. Leave to appeal was granted in September 2005, on the basis of a new expert's report suggesting that Christian might have suffered from a natural condition that led to an accumulation of salt in his system.
  3. The retrial opened at Nottingham Crown Court on 18 January 2007.
  4. For further information CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8180.