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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

Ian Stewart convicted of Helen Bailey murder


A 56-year-old man who drugged and suffocated his fiancée before hiding her body in a cesspit has been convicted of her murder today (22 February).

Ian Stewart was convicted of killing children's author Helen Bailey following a six-week trial at St Albans Crown Court.

The court heard how Stewart drugged Helen using sleeping tablets and then, after killing her and hiding her body, sent her text messages and emails in a bid to cover his tracks.

Helen's body was discovered under the home she shared with Stewart in Royston, Hertfordshire, on 15 July 2016 - three months after her death.

Charles White, from the CPS, said: "Ian Stewart murdered Helen Bailey and then conducted a cynical, deceitful and calculated charade as he watched the police conduct a futile missing person investigation.

"The prosecution presented a case to the jury which clearly showed how Stewart was linked to Helen's disappearance through mobile phone, computer and CCTV evidence.

"Our thoughts are with Helen's family and friends, who have been devastated by her death. I hope today's conviction reassures them that justice has been done."

He will be sentenced in due course.


Notes to Editors

  1. Charles White is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Thames and Chiltern.
  2. Ian Stewart was convicted of murder, preventing a lawful burial, fraud and three counts of perverting the course of justice
  3. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  4. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233