Unlawful killing

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In English law unlawful killing is a verdict that can be returned by an inquest in England and Wales when someone has been killed by one or several unknown persons. The verdict means that the killing was done without lawful excuse and in breach of criminal law. This includes murder, manslaughter, infanticide and causing death by dangerous driving. A verdict of unlawful killing generally leads to a police investigation, with the aim of gathering sufficient evidence to identify, charge and prosecute the culprit(s).

It is important that the inquest does not name any individual person as responsible.[1] The appropriate standard of proof is that the unlawful killing must be beyond reasonable doubt. This is when the evidence was so overwhelmingly obvious that death would result, that no other thing is taken into account. If this standard is not met, a verdict of accidental death or death by misadventure should be considered on the balance of probabilities.[1]

A verdict of unlawful killing was returned in the following notable cases:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lord Mackay of Clashfern (ed.) (2006) Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed. reissue, vol.9(2), "Coroners", 1043. Killed unlawfully
  2. ^ "Ian Tomlinson unlawfully killed, inquest finds". The Guardian. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Search for truth on 'friendly fire' death". BBC News. 16 March 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Iraq reporter unlawfully killed". BBC News. 13 October 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "British UN worker unlawfully shot". BBC. 16 December 2005. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  6. ^ "'Unlawful killing' of Gaza Briton". BBC News. 10 April 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  7. ^ "7/7 inquests: Emergency delays 'did not cause deaths'". BBC. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 

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