By Jacqueline Martin; Chris Turner; Denis Lanser

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Toyah stabs Steve in the arm. His injury is not serious but he needs stitches, so a neighbour takes Steve to hospital in his car. On the way to the hospital the car crashes and Steve sustains serious head injuries, from which he dies. 4. Lily decides to kill Kevin. She takes his shotgun and loads it. She waits until he has gone to sleep then she goes into his bedroom and shoots him in the head. Unknown to her, Kevin died from a drug overdose twenty minutes before she shot him. 5. Ross stabs Paul in the chest.

Although this case was on the old definition, it is likely that the courts will still use the same standard of abnormality. So the test will be that D’s mental functioning was so different from that of ordinary human beings that the reasonable man would term it abnormal. 3 Cause of the abnormality of mental functioning The cause of the abnormality of mental functioning must arise from a ‘recognised medical condition’. This is wide enough to cover both psychological and physical conditions. It obviously covers any recognised mental disorder.

They pointed out that if a defendant intends to inflict grievous bodily harm and the victim dies, this has always been sufficient in English law to imply malice aforethought. In Cunningham (1981) the House of Lords confirmed that the Court of Appeal’s decision in Vickers was correct. Cunningham (1981) The defendant hit the victim over the head with a stool. The victim died from head injuries. The defendant claimed that he did not intend any life-threatening injuries to the victim. The House of Lords held that an intention to cause really serious harm was sufficient for the mens rea of murder.

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