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Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

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

CPS decision on the death of Private Gavin Williams


The Crown Prosecution Service has today advised Wiltshire Police to charge Sergeant Russell Price, Sergeant Paul Blake and Corporal John Edwards with manslaughter following the death of Private Gavin Williams on 3 July 2006.

Stephen O'Doherty, CPS reviewing lawyer said:

"Private Williams, a soldier with the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh, was to be charged and would have faced sanctions and an enquiry into a series of alleged disciplinary breaches he had committed. However, Sergeant Price, Sergeant Blake and Corporal Edwards chose to subject him to an intense period of physical activity amounting to unlawful punishment, on an extremely hot day. Tragically, Private Williams collapsed and despite hospital treatment for overheating, died the same day."

The three defendants will appear at Salisbury Magistrates' Court on 1 August 2007.

  1. The CPS received a file of evidence from Wiltshire Police earlier this year and further evidence was provided this month.
  2. Press enquiries to CPS press office on 020 7796 8102 or 8107.