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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

Woman convicted of murder for knife attacks in the street


A woman who attacked two people with large knives in broad daylight has been convicted of murder and attempted murder. Nicola Edgington was convicted today at the Central Criminal Court.

Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London, said: "These attacks occurred on a busy street in Bexleyheath in full view of passers by, some of whom were children on their way to school. They could only look on in horror.

"In both incidents, the prosecution's case was that Edgington's clear intention was to kill. Our case was that in doing these things, Edgington knew and understood what she was doing and knew that it was wrong. On the morning of 10 October 2011 she armed herself with large knives and set upon her victims ferociously. Her first victim, who was waiting for her bus to work, survived only because she was able to fight off her attacker. Her second victim was not so fortunate and tragically had no chance to defend herself.

"Violent and vicious crimes cause pain and heartbreak to victims and their families. CPS London is committed to working with its partners to protect our city's residents against such attacks."