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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Kevin Howe convicted of assisted attempted suicide


Kevin Howe has today been found guilty of assisted attempted suicide after intentionally supplying a man with the means to set himself on fire in Bishop Auckland in May.

Elizabeth Reid, specialist prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime Division, said: "The victim in this case was known to be suicidal. He had told people earlier that day that he intended to set himself alight and had made threats to commit suicide on many previous occasions.

"Kevin Howe was fully aware of these intentions when he bought the victim both petrol and a lighter, and he knew precisely how they would be used. He deliberately encouraged the victim, who was clearly vulnerable, to set himself alight in a horrific and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide.

"Kevin Howe failed to provide any satisfactory explanation of his actions throughout this case and has today been brought to justice.

"I extend my sympathies to the victim in this case, who remains in hospital, and hope today's conviction provides some comfort to both to him and his family, as well as their friends and neighbours, many of whom witnessed this distressing and upsetting incident."

Kevin Howe will be sentenced at Durham Crown Court on 4 October 2013.


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 four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct 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 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 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.