It is one of the most serious of crimes, if not the most serious crime; murder.
If you have been arrested and detained under an accusation of murder, you will likely be feeling very scared and, of course, concerned that you are going to spend the rest of your life in jail, as this is often what is depicted on television.
In the UK, the law is not that black and white. There are many subtleties that come into play, even with a crime as serious as murder. Although you do not need to know every bit of the law surrounding murder (as that is the role of a solicitor), it can be beneficial to know a little bit about the sentencing surrounding murder and the associated crimes.
With that in mind, here are some of the common FAQs that are searched online relating to murder in the UK. For more information about your specific case, you will need to contact a criminal solicitor.
What sentence can I get for murder?
If somebody is found guilty of murder in the UK, the standard sentencing is life imprisonment. A whole life term means there are no minimum terms set by the judge, and the defendant is never to be considered for release.
If your legal team can persuade the judge and the jury that the incident you were involved in was actually manslaughter, then this sentence is reduced. And of course, many variables will be considered when the judge hands out a sentence for murder, such as your mental state, prior relationship with the person and other influences.
Does it change if it was in self-defence?
Yes, it does. If you killed somebody in self-defence, this is not considered a crime in the same way as manslaughter or murder. There are many justice systems that recognise the right of a person to protect themselves from harm. There may be no detainment at all, but you will still have to go through the legal process of proving that your life was in danger.
What is the sentence for being an accessory to murder?
If you have been found to be an accessory to murder in the UK, you may still face up to life in prison without parole. As is the way with the law surrounding murder in the UK, there will be many factors that are taken into account by the judge, such as whether you were coerced or being blackmailed to take part in the murder.
How long can someone under the age of 18 get for committing murder?
A person under the age of 18 can still get a life sentence for murder. However, many things need to be considered, such as the individuals’ mental state and whether or not they were being coerced, which can be very common in gang-related murders.
Are mental health issues a good defence?
Mental health issues can be a good defence against murder if you have been diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having a serious mental health issue prior to committing the murder. Although, there are instances where drug-induced ailments, such as psychosis, can also be defended and result in you being sent to a psychiatric institution rather than a prison.