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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 advises no charges following re-investigation into death of Stuart Lubbock


Essex Crown Prosecution Service has advised Essex Police that no one should be charged with any criminal offences following a re-investigation into the death of Stuart Lubbock, who was found dead at the entertainer Michael Barrymore's home in 2001.

Chris McCann, complex casework lawyer with Essex CPS said: "Following Essex Police's re-investigation into Mr Lubbock's death, three men were arrested and questioned: Michael Barrymore, Justin Merritt and Jonathan Kenny, who were all released on police bail.

"I received a much enlarged file with some new evidence in July 2007. I considered all the evidence and asked Essex Police for further evidence which has now been received."

"There is still no answer in either the scientific or medical evidence how or by whose hand Mr Lubbock died. If we are ever to consider a prosecution, we must be able to say that Mr Lubbock died as result of the actions of a named person or persons, as shown in the medical explanation for his death.

"I have also considered the new evidence which has been presented, whether it alone could lead to any charges, and the likely response to it by the defence. I am not satisfied that the prosecution can overcome the objections that are likely to be raised and so I have decided that there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction against the three individuals.

"I appreciate that this will be a great disappointment to the family of Mr Lubbock and I have arranged to meet them to explain the reasons for my decision to them."

Mr McCann advised previously on this case when a file was received in 2002. He said: "My decision at that time was there was no evidence to charge any person either for the death of Mr Lubbock or for the injuries he received.

"An inquest in 2002 into Mr Lubbock's death recorded an open verdict and the cause of his death, which has been considered by a number of experts, is "unascertained".

"There is no forensic evidence in this case that connects any person or object to any potential defendant and, more importantly, to Mr Lubbock."

  1. The body of Stuart Lubbock was found at the home of Michael Barrymore in Roydon, Essex on 31 March 2001. An inquest in September 2002 recorded an open verdict.
  2. In December 2006, Essex Police announced a new investigation into Mr Lubbock's death.
  3. Michael Barrymore, Justin Merritt and Jonathan Kenny were arrested by Essex Police on 14 June 2007. They were released on police bail to return on 10 September 2007.
  4. For further information, contact CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8180.