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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.

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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

CPS decides no prosecution over death of ITN's Terry Lloyd in Iraq


It is not possible to say who fired the fatal shot which killed ITN journalist Terry Lloyd and so the CPS has advised the police there is insufficient evidence for any prosecution over his death in Iraq, Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's Counter Terrorism Division, announced today.

Ms Hemming said: "There is insufficient evidence at the current time to establish to the criminal standard the identity of the person who fired the bullet that killed Mr Lloyd.

"There is also insufficient evidence in relation to the chain of command to establish if there was any person responsible for the chain of events that led to the death of Mr Lloyd.

"This was an extremely complex and difficult investigation into what happened in a war zone outside Basra in March 2003, just days after coalition forces crossed into Iraq."

The case was referred to the CPS by the Coroner through the Attorney General's Office after an inquest in October 2006 recorded a verdict of unlawful killing. Mr Lloyd was killed whilst driving into a war zone in March 2003.

Mr Lloyd and his team were in two cars heading towards Basra because they heard - wrongly - that an Iraqi armoured brigade had surrended and they wanted to report on this.

Ms Hemming said: "It is clear from the forensic evidence that Mr Lloyd received injuries from both Iraqi and American bullets and the forensic evidence suggests that the injury which caused his death was fired from a US weapon.

"This was a particularly precarious situation and Mr Lloyd was not wearing the helmet or bullet proof vest which had been supplied to him. As the two cars crossed the bridge, Iraqi soldiers drove towards them and opened fire.

"The cars did a u-turn to head back towards the American forces, pursued by the Iraqis. The Americans believed that all the approaching vehicles were hostile and opened fire.

"Mr Lloyd was injured and although lying in the central reservation, was picked up by a Mitsubishi which was helping wounded Iraqi soldiers to leave the scene. Shots were fired at the Mitsubishi which the driver said came from the American position. When the Mitsubishi arrived at the hospital, the driver went to help Mr Lloyd from the back of the car and found he had been fatally injured."

The sequence of events, said Ms Hemming, appeared to be that Mr Lloyd was first injured by a shot from the Iraqis and then was hit by a bullet from shots fired by the Americans at the Mitsubishi. This was borne out by the forensic evidence.

She said: "Having considered all the evidence gathered by UK Authorities and the evidence from the US, together with advice from counsel, we have decided there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution.

"I understand that this will be very upsetting news for the family and friends of Mr Lloyd but I can reassure them that every care was taken in pursuing lines of inquiry and reviewing the evidence."

  1. Terry Lloyd died on 22 March 2003. He was part of a four-man ITN team which also included Fred Nerac, a French cameraman; editor, Daniel Demoustier, a Belgian cameraman; Hussein Osman, employed as an interpreter and driver. Only Mr Demoustier survived.
  2. After the inquest into Mr Lloyd's death, the coroner, Andrew Walker, wrote to the Attorney General, passing on the documents used at the inquest and requesting that steps be taken to bring to justice those who were responsible for the death of Mr Lloyd.
  3. The Attorney passed the documents from the coroner to the CPS towards the end of 2006 and after considering them, the CPS wrote to the United States to request evidence from them in June 2007. Lawyers from the CPS Counter Terrorism Division also travelled to the US.
  4. As it was alleged that Mr Lloyd was killed in Iraq by non-British nationals, the relevant offence capable of being tried in a UK court in these circumstances is section 1 of the Geneva Conventions Act 1957. The Attorney General has to consent to any prosecution which may be brought.
  5. Requests for information from the United States were made by formal letters submitted under the UK - US mutual legal assistance treaty.
  6. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8180.
  7. The Crown Prosecution Service is the Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution;
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute;
    • Preparing cases for court;
    • Presentation of cases at court;

    The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 83.7% in 2006-2007.

    More about the CPS

    The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol