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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

Father and sons jailed for life for Langley Mill murder


Three men from the same family have been found guilty of murder for killing two teenagers and a baby when they deliberately set fire to a flat in Derbyshire.

Peter Eyre and his sons Simon and Anthony set the fire at in North Street, Langley Mill. 17-year old Amy Smith, her daughter Ruby-Grace Gaunt aged six months and 17-year-old Edward Green died in the fire in the early hours of 21 June 2016. Shaun Gaunt (the father of Ruby Grace and partner of Amy) and another teenager escaped.

The prosecution's case was that they attacked the flat following an argument that night with Mr Gaunt, who had accused another of Peter Eyre's sons of stealing his moped. Peter Eyre took exception to the argument, and decided to retaliate. He and his two sons drove to Langley Mill, where they knew Mr Gaunt would be at home. At first they checked the location out and returned to their home in Sandiacre. Later, they drove again to the flat, where Simon and Anthony Eyre doused the front of the flat and a car parked outside with petrol and left the scene.

In addition to Mr Gaunt, there were others in the flat that night. As well as Amy and Ruby-Grace, two other friends were staying the night at the flat - Mr Green and one other. As the fire took hold, Mr Gaunt and his other friend were able to escape, but Mr Green, Amy and Ruby Grace died.

They were found guilty after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court and were today sentenced to life in prison. Peter Eyre will serve a minimum term of 32 years. Simon Eyre has a minimum term of 26 years and Anthony Eyre must serve a minimum term of 23 years.

Dona Parry-Jones, Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands, said: "This mindless attack took the lives of three people who had done nothing to the defendants. The Eyres set out to target Mr Gaunt, but it was Amy, Ruby-Grace and Edward who died instead. During the trial, the prosecution presented evidence that they knew there were others in the flat, but carried out their so called revenge attack regardless.

"This was a trial for murder, because the evidence pointed strongly to the fact that the defendants deliberately set out to cause serious harm. The jury has rejected their arguments that they did not intend to set fire to the flat. They planned this together and executed their plan coldly and ruthlessly without a care for who they were putting in danger. The seriousness of this crime is reflected in the sentence the judge has handed down today.

"This was a tragic, needless waste of three young lives. We cannot underestimate the devastation this has left on the families and friends of the three victims. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to them for their loss. I hope that seeing the Eyres brought to justice for their actions will provide some comfort or closure at this difficult time."


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.