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 more 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 those responsible.

The inquest does not normally name any individual person as responsible.[1] The standard of proof is that the unlawful killing must be beyond a reasonable doubt. If this standard is not met, a verdict of accidental death or death by misadventure on the balance of probabilities may be returned.[1]

Notable cases[edit]

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


  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. ^ Morris, Steven (30 April 2010). "Rupert Thorneloe was unlawfully killed in Afghanistan, inquest finds". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Ian Tomlinson unlawfully killed, inquest finds". The Guardian. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  4. ^ "Princess Diana unlawfully killed". BBC. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Search for truth on 'friendly fire' death". BBC News. 16 March 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Iraq reporter unlawfully killed". BBC News. 13 October 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  7. ^ "British UN worker unlawfully shot". BBC. 16 December 2005. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
  8. ^ "'Unlawful killing' of Gaza Briton". BBC News. 10 April 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  9. ^ "7/7 inquests: Emergency delays 'did not cause deaths'". BBC. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Nerve gas death was 'unlawful'". BBC. 15 November 2004. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  11. ^ "'Doctor Daniel Ubani unlawfully killed overdose patient'". Guardian newspaper. Retrieved 4 Feb 2010.
  12. ^ "Hillsborough inquests: Fans unlawfully killed, jury concludes". BBC News. 27 April 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016.

External links[edit]