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Hyam v. Director of Public Prosecutions

House of Lords
[1974] 2 All E.R. 41


Jealous that another woman was going to marry the man she loved, Hyam (defendant) went to the other woman’s home, poured gasoline through a mail slot in the front door, and ignited it. The woman escaped with one of her children, but two other children died in the fire. Hyam was charged with two counts of murder. At trial, Hyam argued that she did not intend to kill anyone. Instead, Hyam testified that she merely wanted the woman to leave the neighborhood. The trial judge instructed the jury that the necessary intent to convict Hyam was present if the defendant had knowledge that it was highly probable that the fire would cause death or serious bodily harm to the woman or the children. Hyam was convicted and she appealed, arguing that she should have been found guilty of manslaughter.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hailsham, L.)

Dissent (Diplock, L.)

Dissent (Cross, L.)

Dissent (Kilbrandon, L.)

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