Murder and manslaughter are the two offences that constitute homicide. Homicide is the killing of a human being, by another human being.

Murder is an act of killing someone illegally and intentionally. The crime of murder is committed where a person of sound mind and discretion, unlawfully kills.

Manslaughter is a notifiable offence of killing someone without having intending to do so or intentionally with mitigating circumstances. Manslaughter can be committed in one of three ways:

  • Killing with the intent for murder but where a partial defence applies, namely loss of control, diminished responsibility or killing pursuant to a suicide pact.
  • Conduct that was grossly negligent given the risk of death, and did kill.
  • Conduct taking the form of an unlawful act involving a danger of some harm, that resulted in death.

There are of course other specific homicide offences, for example, causing death by dangerous or careless driving. For dangerous driving see driving offences.

Attempted murder is the intention to kill, not merely to cause grievous bodily harm.

Where can I get help or further information?

Losing someone because of the violent actions of another person – through murder or manslaughter – can be devastating.

Information and support can be provided by the National Homicide Service, which can arrange:

  • immediate help, e.g. arranging the funeral
  • counselling
  • specialist support, eg debt counselling, housing advice
  • support from people who’ve been through the same experience
  • legal advice

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