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The law distinguishes between murder and manslaughter depending on how ‘culpable’ or blameworthy the person is deemed to be, his/her intention at the time of the killing and whether he/she raises a defence. The most common defences to murder are self-defence, loss of control (previously known as provocation) and diminished responsibility.

English law differentiates between murder and manslaughter based on how ‘culpable’ or blameworthy the defendant is believed to be in addition to what his intention was at the time of the killing and whether he raises a defence. The most common defences used in the crime of murder are the following:

  • self-defence
  • loss of control (previously known as provocation)
  • diminished responsibility.

To prove murder, the prosecution must prove that it was intentional. A death that was caused by ‘gross negligence’ or a ‘dangerous act’ is likely to be classified as ‘manslaughter’. If there was an intention to cause serious injury, this would also be categorised as murder.

If you or somebody you know has been arrested or invited to the police station for an interview in connection to murder, it’s only natural to be feeling intensely worried, concerned and anxious about the situation.

Murder is the most serious offence. If you are found guilty and convicted, a hefty sentence of imprisonment will be given, typically life imprisonment.

Finding and securing an experienced and highly competent criminal solicitor to support you throughout the police investigation is vital for an improved outcome. In addition to giving you legal help at the initial police interview, the lawyer will be able to help you through your court appearances through to the end of the trial.

When you discover that you’re being either investigated or charged with this crime, it’s imperative that you seek a criminal lawyer who has proven themselves in murder related court cases. By selecting your criminal lawyer wisely, you may even be able to get your case dismissed before it progresses to the court stage.

Have you been arrested or charged for murder? 

If you or somebody close to you has been arrested or charged in connection to charges of Murder, it will make you feel anxious and nervous about what’s going happen.

In some cases, people are accused of playing a role, but in reality, they haven’t. In cases of this nature, it’s crucial that you get your name cleared and any connection to the crime removed. Being labelled a ‘murderer’ will not bode well for the future of you or your family.

To help explain what the legal framework is of the legalities around the murder offence,  we’ve put these commonly asked questions together with their answers. If you have a question that is not listed here, you can call us on 0208 888 5225 or use our contact form and we can provide you with an answer.

If you need to contact us in the case of an emergency, call us on 07980 000 076 which is manned by a lawyer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We aim to support you in every way we can while you go through this challenging time.

What IS murder?

Murder is defined as being when somebody unlawfully kills a person outside of war-time and with a sound mind for no justified reason such as self-defence. It’s not possible for a company or corporation to commit murder although there is an alternative offence known as ‘corporate manslaughter’.

The intent for murder is when a person intends to kill or to cause GBH, otherwise known as grievous bodily harm. If the defendant is certain that they will be causing serious bodily harm or murder before they act, then the crime is classified as murder. Attempted  murder is when there is again intent to kill but the act did not succeed in unlawfully killing.

What happens in a case of murder?

Being under investigation for murder can be very high pressure. It’s a challenging time when the accused will feel anxious and nervous about the outcome of the case. They will be worried that dependents won’t be able to financially cope without them if they are found to be guilty, convicted and given a lengthy prison sentence.

When it comes to an investigation of this nature, it’s essential that you engage the services of an experienced criminal lawyer who has in-depth knowledge of this field.

Murder trials are held at the crown court before a judge and a jury. There may be an appearance at the magistrates court before the case being sent to the crown court. Then all hearings will be held at the crown court.

There will typically be a lot of evidence for the court to examine. This will include evidence collected by SOCOs (Scene of Crime Officers) and other forensic findings. There’s likely to be fingerprints, DNA deposits, blood splatters and footprints which will all contribute to deciding who did what during the murder. There will also be a report on the medical condition of the defendant in addition to an interim report from the crown’s pathologist giving the likely cause of death. A full report will be provided at a later date with the result of other studies such as histology, toxicology and neurological analysis if required.

In addition, there will be evidence collected from mobile phones, social media messengers, Whatsapp and other communication methods.

Anybody involved in a case of this nature will find it incredibly stressful and worrying to be involved. It’s vital that you use a solicitor who has experience with all aspects of a murder trial including using expert witnesses to craft a strong defence.

Every murder case is unique. However, whatever your situation is, being able to speak with a legal professional who is competent and skilful will help you feel some peace of mind. It is very challenging to navigate to a trial of this nature, you need support and you also need to feel that you have the best person to get you the best possible outcome for this serious criminal case.

Murder: you may have been falsely accused of being involved

In some cases, people have been falsely accused of murder. If you feel this has happened to you, it’s vital that you get a strong defence team to give you the support and backing that you need.

It’s crucial that you get your case dismissed before it reaches the court stage.

For example, it’s not uncommon for a prosecution to accuse a person with murder in order to uncover who was involved in the crime. A robust legal team are equipped to recognise a case of when it’s a mud throwing exercise that needs to be challenged before it gets to court.

Without a lawyer, you cannot find out more until the interview

If you discover that you or your loved one are under investigation as part of a murder charge, it’s typical to be invited to the police station for an interview.

One of the tactics that the police use is to not disclose all the evidence until it suits them to do so. Without knowing all the evidence that they have on you, you may inadvertently incriminate yourself by not knowing how to respond in the best way to some of their questions. This is where the value of a good lawyer comes into play.

Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible

Without a doubt, you should not attend a police interview without the support of a competent criminal solicitor.

Probing questions that are asked in a high-pressure environment can be very difficult to navigate. You may find it very upsetting. The police will try to get you to say something to incriminate yourself while withholding evidence that they have obtained to prove their case against you. They are primarily looking to gain a conviction.

Without guidance, there is a chance that you will be charged at the end of the interview with murder charges.

Can the police search my home?

The police will request the courts for a search warrant so that they can legally search your home and possibly your workplace for evidence. They will search for evidence on phone bill statements, money transfers and unexplained assets. They may put you and your family and connections under surveillance.

Could you go to prison for murder?

If you’re found guilty of murder, you will be imprisoned for a very long time. Of course, this will be a worrying time for you and your family. For these reasons, it’s crucial that you take the right steps to protect the well-being of you and your family.

It’s imperative that you engage a criminal solicitor or murder lawyer who handles murder cases regularly. You must be smart, calculated, analytical, pro-active and involved in every aspect of the case, every moment of your existence. Why ? because it is with hard work, perseverance and intense focus that you will secure the maximum chances of success as the alternative is not worth risking.

What type of sentence could you get for murder?

Murder is one of the most severe offences in law. If convicted, you’ll be handed a life sentence which will have life-long consequences. You’ll stay in prison until release which will be decided by the parole board, at which point you will be under licence for the rest of your life.

Murder cases are heard at a crown court. If the jury finds you guilty and you are convicted, in the most serious of cases, the maximum prison time you will receive is life imprisonment.

Read more about sentencing for Murder offences

What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?

The extent of the term of imprisonment and other penalties in cases of murder will depend on your involvement, how serious the crime is and whether it was carried through or not.

Your mitigation will be crafted by your expert criminal solicitor. Mitigation for these serious offences requires an advanced level of planning and research and usually, we will for example:

  • consider sentences imposed in past similar cases, to find an argument for the most lenient sentence
  • consider the sentencing guidelines and find reason to persuade the judge to issue a sentence lower than the guidelines
  • find facts which distinguish your case from other cases of a similar nature, where lengthy sentences were imposed
  • collect evidence your previous criminal history (hopefully, the lack of) and show the judge that this was a one-off and isolated incident
  • find evidence of your standing in the community, your good character and nature, your good deeds, your responsibilities and information on the number of people who are likely to be affected by your absence
  • there are many others points of mitigation we will consider, as each case depends on its own individual characteristics, the court itself, the nature of the judge, the type of prosecutor, the involvement of the police officer, the interest of the media, the attention of the public and so on.

Read more about potential defences for Murder offences.

Does a conviction for murder go on your criminal record?

If you are convicted of murder, your conviction will be noted on your CRB / police record. The period of the endorsement will depend on the type and the length of the sentence.

More than likely, the endorsement will be for life, as the prison sentence is more than certainly in excess of 4 years.

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

Our criminal solicitors have more than 35 years’ experience dealing with complex murder, attempted murder and manslaughter cases. We appreciate clients facing these offences need a dedicated team, and the most experienced legal minds working on their case; a team you can trust and depend upon. We also appreciate the effect of such proceedings on family members and loved ones and the need for them to understand proceedings and to be kept up to date on your case as it progresses.

Our recent successful murder cases

We have secured acquittals in allegations of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder and manslaughter cases. In fact, our criminal solicitors have secured the acquittals of several people indicted for murder on the same indictment and examples of these acquittals are listed here:

  • Conspiracy to murder 4 defendants acquitted
  • 2 wild west style shooting acquittals
  • Murder charges 2 hitmen acquitted

Owing to the size, expertise and reputation of the firm, our criminal solicitors have access to the best QCs, barristers and forensic analysts who will work together to secure the best possible outcome for you. Since most murder allegations feature telephone and covert surveillance evidence, we are closely linked to masters of cell-site evidence and can call upon their talent to enhance the defence. We will gather witness statements on your behalf and tirelessly search for and present evidence which can win the case for us.

Book a free consultation to discuss murder allegations

Please contact us and ask to speak to our criminal solicitors to arrange a meeting, whether face to face, online or by telephone.

Whether you have already instructed criminal solicitors or you are without any legal representation, you have nothing to lose in seeking an opinion from us, from meeting us and from seeing how you feel after discussing your case with us.

This case will define your life, whether you win or lose so it is always worth seeking an opinion from those expert murder lawyers who defend against false allegations of murder on an everyday basis.

What will happen when I instruct a lawyer?

With more than 40 acquittals in murder, conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and manslaughter cases, our criminal solicitors have immense expertise in this field with documented success in a catalogue of cases which can be found at the murder-cases section of the website.

We are proud of the vigour, the dedication and pro-active defence representation we invest in murder cases. We settle for nothing less than the best and we do not take any chances or leave any room for complaint defending cases in which the likely sentence of imprisonment is around 30 years.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.

Please contact our criminal solicitors about your murder case to arrange your meeting, whether face to face, online or by telephone. If you prefer, you can also send us a WhatsApp message using the link on this page.


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