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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

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

Robert Cusworth sentenced for murder of Sally Garwood in Aylesbury

29/01/2010

Robert Cusworth has today been sentenced to life imprisonment at Reading Crown Court for the murder of Sally Garwood, a 34 year old teaching assistant, in Aylesbury on 11 July 2009. He will serve a minimum tariff of 20 years' imprisonment.

Mrs Garwood was found in an area of meadowland called Quarrendon Fields in North Aylesbury last July having been out walking her dog when Mr Cusworth viciously attacked her with a knife.  She died shortly afterwards from severe stab wounds.

Mr Cusworth, 25, admitted her murder at a hearing at Reading Crown Court on 21 December last year.

Carl Barker, reviewing lawyer from Thames Valley Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"This was an utterly senseless and motiveless attack by a man on a much smaller woman who was simply enjoying walking her dog on a Saturday afternoon on a popular piece of public land in Aylesbury.

"Robert Cusworth did not know Sally Garwood, let alone harbour any previous bad feelings towards her. As he told police, he was in a bad mood, and he had bought  a knife the day before because he felt 'very very angry' and 'wanted to hurt someone'. He had walked to Quarrendon Fields that afternoon armed with the knife knowing that he was 'going to do something really bad'. By a tragic coincidence, Sally Garwood happened to be walking in that part of the fields when Mr Cusworth was waiting for a victim.

"We offer our deepest sympathies to all who knew Sally Garwood. She was deeply loved and is desperately missed by her family. A remarkable feature of this tragedy is the courage shown by her husband, parents, brother and sisters throughout their ordeal.  We hope that the conclusion of the court proceedings can bring them some measure of comfort."

Ends

  1. Media enquiries by phone: 020 7710 8127. Out of hours pager: 07699 781926.
  2. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  3. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are five specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism, Fraud Prosecution, and Revenue and Customs. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  4. The DPP has published his long term vision for the prosecution service and its role within the wider criminal justice system. It includes modernising the service and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal justice - read "The Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard" at www.cps.gov.uk/pps
  5. 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.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol