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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

Two males convicted for attack which caused the death of an unborn baby

17/12/2015

Kevin Wilson, 22, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, were convicted today at the Central Criminal Court for causing grievous bodily harm with intent and child destruction.

 This relates to an attack on a heavily pregnant woman in the Peckham area on 15th June 2015. The two defendants wore motorcycle helmets during the attack to try and conceal their identities but the victim recognised Wilson, who she had previously had a relationship with. Wilson was the father of the unborn baby and had previously told the victim that he did not want her to have the baby.

Malcolm McHaffie, CPS London Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: "The incomprehensibly evil actions of these two defendants have cruelly snatched away the life of an unborn baby boy who was just weeks away from being brought into the world.

"The evidence showed the attackers' clear intent to inflict as much damage as possible on the unborn child as they viciously targeted the victim's stomach by kicking and stamping with great force.

"Not only did this attack fatally injure the unborn baby, it caused life-threatening internal bleeding for the mother. She also suffered fractures to her hand which she was desperately using to try and protect the baby.

"We were able to demonstrate a clear link between the two defendants through telephone evidence which showed they had been in contact a number of times leading up to the attack.

"I would like to thank the victim for her courage in giving evidence against her attackers in this heart-breaking case."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. 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.
  4. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
  5. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly 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.