2. Threats to kill

Offences against the Person Act 1861, s.16
Effective from: 04 August 2008

Offence seriousness (culpability and harm)

B. Consider the effect of aggravating and mitigating factors (other than those within examples above)

The following may be particularly relevant but these lists are not exhaustive

Factors indicating higher culpability

  1. Planning
  2. Offender deliberately isolates victim
  3. Group action
  4. Threat directed at victim because of job
  5. History of antagonism towards victim

Factors indicating greater degree of harm

  1. Vulnerable victim
  2. Victim needs medical help/counselling

Factor indicating lower culpability

  1. Provocation
Common aggravating and mitigating factors
 Taken from Sentencing Guidelines Council Guideline Overarching Principles: Seriousness

Aggravating factors

Factors indicating higher culpability:
  • Offence committed whilst on bail for other offences
  • Failure to respond to previous sentences
  • Offence was racially or religiously aggravated
  • Offence motivated by, or demonstrating, hostility to the victim based on his or her sexual orientation (or presumed sexual orientation)
  • Offence motivated by, or demonstrating, hostility based on the victim’s disability (or presumed disability)
  • Previous conviction(s), particularly where a pattern of repeat offending is disclosed
  • Planning of an offence
  • An intention to commit more serious harm than actually resulted from the offence
  • Offenders operating in groups or gangs
  • ‘Professional’ offending
  • Commission of the offence for financial gain (where this is not inherent in the offence itself)
  • High level of profit from the offence
  • An attempt to conceal or dispose of evidence
  • Failure to respond to warnings or concerns expressed by others about the offender’s behaviour
  • Offence committed whilst on licence
  • Offence motivated by hostility towards a minority group, or a member or members of it
  • Deliberate targeting of vulnerable victim(s)
  • Commission of an offence while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Use of a weapon to frighten or injure victim
  • Deliberate and gratuitous violence or damage to property, over and above what is needed to carry out the offence
  • Abuse of power
  • Abuse of a position of trust
Factors indicating a more than usually serious degree of harm:
  • Multiple victims
  • An especially serious physical or psychological effect on the victim, even if unintended
  • A sustained assault or repeated assaults on the same victim
  • Victim is particularly vulnerable
  • Location of the offence (for example, in an isolated place)
  • Offence is committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public
  • Presence of others e.g. relatives, especially children or partner of the victim
  • Additional degradation of the victim (e.g. taking photographs of a victim as part of a sexual offence)
  • In property offences, high value (including sentimental value) of property to the victim, or substantial consequential loss (e.g. where the theft of equipment causes serious disruption to a victim’s life or business)

Mitigating factors

Factors indicating lower culpability:
  • A greater degree of provocation than normally expected
  • Mental illness or disability
  • Youth or age, where it affects the responsibility of the individual defendant
  • The fact that the offender played only a minor role in the offence

Form a preliminary view of the appropriate sentence, then consider offender mitigation

Offender mitigation

  • Genuine remorse
  • Admissions to police in interview
  • Ready co-operation with authorities