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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

Becky Watts murder - Nathan Matthews and Shauna Hoare convicted


Barry Hughes, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South West said: "The CPS was involved in this case from an early stage of what proved to be an extensive and exhaustive police investigation, conducted by Det. Supt. Liz Tunks and her team.

"As we reviewed the evidence they gathered, it became clear not only that Nathan Matthews and Shauna Hoare had conspired to kidnap Becky Watts, but that their actions were motivated by their own sexual interests.

"Throughout the trial, Matthews maintained that he had killed Becky by accident during a bungled 'prank' to kidnap her. Having heard details of Becky's injuries, as well as the cold and calculated way in which he attempted to dispose of her body, the jury has today found him guilty of murder.

"Shauna Hoare claimed that she knew nothing of Matthews' plans or actions, that she had no involvement in Becky's death or the concealment of her body. Again, the jury found the evidence did not support these claims and she has been found guilty of manslaughter.

"Unable to complete the task at hand without additional help, Matthews and Hoare recruited Karl Demetrius and Jaydene Parsons, both of whom will now be sentenced for assisting an offender for their unwitting part in concealing Becky's body.

"Matthews and Hoare have never expressed any remorse for Becky's death, demonstrative of the callous way they took a young woman's life just as she was starting to plan her future. The hard work and meticulous attention to detail of the prosecution team ensured that they did not today walk free."


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief -
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  5. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly 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. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.