E-law cases
 
Custom Search
   Home      R v Clinton 2012

 


R v Clinton [2012] EWCA Crim 2 (Court of Appeal)


The appellant and his wife both suffered from depression for which they were on prescribed medication. He was experiencing financial difficulties and stress at work. He and his wife agreed to a trial separation for four weeks as she needed time out. She left him with the children and moved into her parent’s home. The appellant did not cope well with this and became obsessional and had been looking at suicide websites. Two weeks later she revealed to him that she was having an affair. He asked for her to come to the matrimonial home in order to tell the children together that their marriage was over. She agreed to meet. However he had arranged for the children to be elsewhere at the time she was due to come and he was heavily intoxicated. At the meeting he killed her by repeatedly beating her on the head with a wooden baton and strangled her with a belt. He then took photos of her naked body in various poses and texted them to her lover.

According to the appellant, he lost his control at the meeting due to three factors:

1. She had told him that she had had sexual relations with five men and was describing in graphic detail the acts they had performed.

2. She had laughed and taunted him about a suicide website that he had been looking at on his computer.

3. She had told him she no longer wanted the children.


The trial judge held that the defence of loss of control was not available to the defendant because the words relating to infidelity should be disregarded as a qualifying trigger and the remaining factors alone were not of an extremely grave character nor would they cause the appellant to have a justifiable sense of being wronged. The defence of diminished responsibility was left for the jury to decide, however they rejected this and found him guilty of murder. He appealed.

Held:

The defence of loss of control should have been put to the jury. His conviction for murder was quashed and a retrial ordered.

Sexual infidelity can not be relied upon on its own as a qualifying trigger, but its existence does not prevent reliance on the defence where there exist other qualifying triggers.

Where other factors count as a qualifying trigger, sexual infidelity may be taken into account in assessing whether things done or said amounted to circumstance of an extremely grave character and gave D a justifiable sense of being wronged under s.55(4)

Sexual infidelity may be taken into account in the third component of the defence in examining the defendant’s circumstances under s.54(1)(c).

 
Back to lecture outline on loss of control in criminal law