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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

Philpotts and Mosley guilty of manslaughter for house fire deaths

02/04/2013

Michael and Mairead Philpott have been found guilty of manslaughter for causing the deaths of their six children in a house fire in Derby. Paul Mosley, a friend of the couple, has also been found guilty of the same offences. The case was described by CPS Crown Advocate Samantha Shallow as "a plan that went disastrously and tragically wrong".

The Philpott children, Duwayne, Jade, John, Jack, Jesse and Jayden, all tragically died from the effects of the fire at their home in Victory Road, Derby on 11 May last year.

Samantha Shallow, from the Crown Prosecution Service's East Midlands Complex Casework Unit, worked closely with Derbyshire Police and officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, providing legal advice to the investigation.

Ms Shallow said: "Today's verdict shows that the children died as a result of the actions of Michael and Mairead Philpott and Paul Mosley when they set the fire. It was started as a result of a plan between the three of them to turn family court proceedings in Mr Philpott's favour. It was a plan that went disastrously and tragically wrong.

"This has been a challenging and harrowing case to prosecute. I am grateful that so many people from the local community came to court and gave evidence. This cannot have been easy and I would like to thank them for coming forward and enabling us to get to the truth.

"Amid all the details of the defendants' personal lives that have come out in court, it should not be forgotten that at the heart of this case were the deaths of six innocent children.

"I extend the condolences of the whole prosecution team to the family and friends of the six children for their tragic loss."

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