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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

Belsize Park man sentenced to life for murdering his wife


Jose Leonardo, 56, was today (17 November) sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 22 years for murdering his wife Maria Mbombo in their home in Belsize Park on 18 May this year. Leonardo was convicted of murder on Monday at the Central Criminal Court. He was found not guilty of a charge of perverting the course of justice.

Aisling Hosein, reviewing lawyer from the CPS London homicide team, said: "Leonardo was a possessive, controlling and abusive man with a history of violence against his wife Maria. He set out on 18 May to murder her and stabbed her repeatedly with a knife. The nature of the wounds meant she will have slowly bled to death, but he made no attempt to call for help.

"He claimed he had been provoked by his wife to lose control during an argument, and was instead guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. However, the prosecution was able to prove he had planned the attack earlier in the day, which showed clear intent. That afternoon he even used a search engine to look for the most painful place to stab someone.

"This is a cruel man whose actions have had tragic consequences, ripping apart a family and leaving three children without a mother. He will now serve a life sentence for his crimes."


Notes to Editors

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  2. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926