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R v Acott [1997] 1 WLR 306 House of Lords

The appellant, aged 48, lived with his mother and became financially dependent on her. On 17th Feb 1993 the appellant called an ambulance as his mother had fallen down the stairs. She died. Medical evidence was such that the mother died from a sustained attack rather than from a fall. The appellant was charged with her murder. At his trial he denied any attack and maintained that his mother fell. During the trial, Counsel for the prosecution continually put it to the defendant that his mother had mocked him and berated him for being inadequate and he then lost his control and attacked her and pushed her down the stairs. The defendant strongly denied all such allegations. Nevertheless the jury convicted him of murder. The defendant appealed contending that the trial judge should have directed the jury on provocation due to the allegations made by the prosecution.


There was no evidence put forward of provocation and therefore the trial judge was right not to put the defence to the jury. The appeal was dismissed and the appellant's conviction for murder upheld.
Back to lecture outline on the defence of provocation