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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

Ray Gosling admits wasting police time over TV confession


The guilty plea today by Ray Gosling shows he now accepts that he put Nottinghamshire Police to a lot of unnecessary effort investigating a fake allegation of murder, said Crown Prosecution Service senior lawyer Simon Clements.

Mr Clements, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: "As a result of Mr Gosling's confession on television that he killed a former lover who was dying of Aids, the police clearly had grounds to suspect him of murder, a crime of unique gravity. They also had a corresponding duty to investigate the deaths of those associated with him.

"The investigation has involved a total of 32 members of police and support staff spending more than 1,800 hours looking into Mr Gosling's false report. Friends and relatives whose loved ones died many years ago in desperately sad circumstances have been caused considerable distress by Mr Gosling's false claim and the consequent investigation.

"After nearly six months of extensive enquiries, Nottinghamshire Police established that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of proving that Mr Gosling's confession was false. The CPS can confirm that, other than a retracted confession, there is no evidence to suggest that Mr Gosling killed anyone.

"Our decision to charge Mr Gosling with wasting police time was clearly justified, and by his guilty plea today Mr Gosling is now taking responsibility for the consequences of his actions."