UK; homicide law

TMA 03 consists of one question in two parts. Your answer should be written in your own words.

The word limit for TMA 03 is a maximum of 2000 words. Remember, all the words you use to answer the question, including headings, quotations and citations, count.

You must provide a reference list and a word count at the end of your work. The reference list is not included in the word count.


Josephine is a young child who suffers intermittently from lengthy attacks of hiccups which are very debilitating. When suffering from an attack she is severely distressed. For about a week her mother Kelly has been up most nights for two or three hours comforting Josephine. Kelly is ill herself: she suffers from schizophrenia and is being treated for the condition by her doctor and a consultant psychiatrist. Over the course of the week Kelly develops delusions that her child is possessed by the devil. Kelly comes to believe it is the devil who is causing these attacks of hiccups. On the night that Josephine dies, Kelly holds a pillow over Josephines face, having read on the internet that this will cure the hiccups. When questioned by the police, Kelly states that she knew that holding a pillow over Kellys face might suffocate her daughter. Kelly also says that she could not bear to see Josephine possessed by the devil and thought that by deliberately holding the pillow firmly over Josephines face she would drive the devil away.

This question is in two parts each part of the question carries equal marks.

Find and read R v Woollin [1999] 1 AC 82. Outline the main point at issue in Woollin and consider on the facts of the scenario above how the decision in Woollin might be relevant to the criminal liability of Kelly. Conclude this evaluation with a statement as to the most likely offence with which Kelly will be charged.

You should download a copy of the case report from a legal database and read it. You need to note similarities and differences between the information given in the scenario above and Woollin. You will need to explain the legal significance of the issues that you have identified. You can use short quotations from Woollin to show that you understand how the reasoning applies or does not apply in Kellys case. These quotations should be included in your word count and properly referenced. You do not have to use quotations but you should cite anything that you use to support your reasoning with a reference to the appropriate paragraph or page of the case report.

You should write no more than 1000 words for this part.

Advise Kelly as to the defence(s) that she should plead in relation to the offence that you have chosen. You should set out the elements of the defence(s) and determine the likelihood of the defence(s) succeeding on the facts.

You should write no more than 1000 words for this part.

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