Advanced Search

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

Joshua Williams convicted for the murder of Alan Cartwright


Joshua Williams, 18, was convicted today at the Central Criminal Court for the murder of 15-year-old Alan Cartwright in February this year.

Alan was stabbed by Williams while riding his bicycle along Caledonian Road, North London, on 27 February 2015. Williams and two other defendants, Shaquille Roberts and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, targeted Alan and his friends in order to rob them of their bicycles. Roberts, 19, pleaded guilty to robbery on 12 August and the 17-year-old also pleaded guilty to robbery on 13 July. There was no evidence that they knew that Joshua Williams had a knife or would use it.

There was strong CCTV and cell site evidence in this case which allowed the prosecution to build a clear picture of the events before, during and after the attack and link the defendants through location and telephone contact.

Malcolm McHaffie, CPS London Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: "This was a completely unprovoked attack on a young teenager who was spending time having fun with his friends.

"The three defendants had clearly made a plan to rob the group of friends of their bicycles, however, Williams decided to take this further and use a knife in a deliberate attack on one of the cyclists, with catastrophic consequences.

"This case shows the horrifying results of knife crime and how a life can be lost and a family devastated in a matter of seconds.

"I would like to thank all the witnesses who gave evidence in this case, you have helped bring Williams to justice.

"CPS London is committed to tackling knife and gang crime in the capital and we will continue to work with our criminal justice partners to robustly prosecute offenders.

"I would like to express our sincere condolences to Alan's family, our thoughts are with them at this time."

Williams was found guilty of murder and one count of robbery and will be sentenced tomorrow at the Old Bailey.


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. 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.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  4. The CPS, together with 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.