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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

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Teenagers guilty of killing man with stolen marine distress flare


Two teenagers have today (24 August) been found guilty of manslaughter after they threw a lit marine distress flare into a car where a man was sleeping.

Their victim, Vilson Meshi, was spending the night in the vehicle outside his partner's home at Basildon, Essex. He died from smoke inhalation.

Keani Hobbs, 18, and a 16-year-old youth, who cannot be named, were convicted at Chelmsford Crown Court.

During the trial, the youth gave evidence in his own defence and said Hobbs was responsible for Mr Meshi's death.  Hobbs did not give evidence but a statement she gave to police, denying the allegations, was read to the court.

Paul Scothern for the CPS said:

"A marine distress flare burns at an incredibly high temperature and the tragic consequences of throwing one into an enclosed space, such as the car where Mr Meshi was asleep, were shocking.

"We were satisfied when reviewing the case that there was sufficient evidence that both were jointly responsible for the theft of the flares and also for Mr Meshi's death.

"As there was no evidence of a deliberate intention to kill Mr Meshi, the appropriate charge against them was manslaughter, rather than murder.

"We hope Mr Meshi's family and friends can take some comfort from the verdicts and our thoughts are with them."


Notes to Editors

  1. Paul Scothern is a Crown Advocate in the East of England Complex Casework Unit.
  2. Mr Meshi was found dead in his car on 27 February 2016 in Pincey Mead, Basildon, Essex.
  3. Details of charges against Keani Hobbs and the youth:
    • Manslaughter - on 27 February 2016 unlawfully killed Vilson Meshi
    • Theft - between 1 January 2016 and 20 February 2016 stole marine hand held flares belonging to Charles Armstrong.
  4. The defendants will be sentenced on 25 August.
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  6. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233