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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

Company sentenced for corporate manslaughter after six year old girl dies


Today, 7 December, Cheshire Gates and Automation Ltd was sentenced to a fine of £50,000 and a Publicity Order following the death of six year old Semelia Campbell, who tragically died after she was trapped in a faulty electric gate.

Semelia died on 28 June 2010 after becoming trapped in the gate at Maine Place in Manchester, the residential complex where she lived. The gate failed to detect Semelia as it closed and whilst her family, residents and the emergency services tried to free her, it was only once the gate motor was smashed that the gate gave way and she could be released.

Alison Norton, Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS, said: "This tragedy could have been avoided had the gate been automated correctly. By its plea the company has accepted that it had been grossly negligent in breaching its duty towards Semelia and has accepted responsibility for her tragic death. I hope that this is of some comfort to Semelia's family."

On 17 November 2015, Cheshire Gate and Automation Ltd pleaded guilty to the corporate manslaughter of Semelia. The company had automated that gate in an unsafe manner, leaving it without any proper limit on the force it exerted and unable to detect and pull back from any obstacles it encountered.


Notes to Editors

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