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Hyam v DPP [1975]


  • The defendant had recently been disappointed when her affair was ended by the engagement of her ‘partner’ to another woman, the victim
  • The defendant intended to prevent this engagement, so after checking that her ‘partner’ was no at the victim’s house, the defendant poured and set light to a gallon of petrol through the victim’s letterbox
  • The victim (and her daughters) were killed as a result of the defendant’s intent to frighten them from the area (not to kill them)


  • Was the defendant responsible for the murder of the victim and her daughters?


  • Yes


  • The House of Lords found the judge correct in directing the jury that is the deaths which occurred were a highly probable result of the defendants actions, intent could be present
  • The conviction was therefore upheld
  • Hyam has now been altered in part by R v Nedrick [1986] and R v Woollin [1999], requiring the finding of a virtual certainty, as opposed to a high probability of death for intent to be found
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