Murder is the most serious homicide in Western Australia because a life has been taken intentionally.  The worst case scenarios involve those of serial killers.

A serial killer is a person who murders three or more people, in two or more separate events over a period of time.  There are gaps of time between the killings, which may range from a few hours to many years.  In many cases, the exact number of victims assigned to a serial killer may not be known.  Such is the case of Eric Edgar Cooke.

Cooke was a  Western Australian serial killer.  From 1959 to 1963, he terrorised Perth by committing 22 violent crimes, eight of which resulted in death.  Cooke’s killing spree involved a series of seemingly unrelated hit-and-runs, stabbings, strangulations, and shootings.  Cooke pleaded not guilty on the grounds of insanity, but it was determined, at trial, that he was sane. Cooke was convicted of wilful murder and was hanged on 26 October 1964.

Numerous murders are committed by crimes of passion.  Often is the case a person loses control in a jealous rage or is provoked and cannot control their emotions.  Murderers in this category are usually law abiding citizens and display extreme remorse for their actions.

In many instances, murders also arise in situations of self-defence involving family violence, home invasions, robberies and serious assaults.

Should you, or anyone you know, need any help, in relation to murder, or any other offences, contact Lawson Legal for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced criminal lawyers.


Manslaughter is the other homicide in Western Australia.

Manslaughter can arise from the unlawful killing of another person while deprived of the power of self-control by provocation.  This can occur in an abusive situation or under circumstances amounting to protecting oneself.  Cases of this nature frequently involve physical altercations with weapons.

Such is the case of Mr Dicks, who was shot and killed at the door of his family home in Bunbury over a small drug debt in 2007.  His killer was sentenced to four years and three months in jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

There have been numerous incidents where an accused has been initially charged with murder, but after a plea negotiation the charge was reduced to manslaughter.  For instance, Mr Rowe, a father of five, was bashed to death with a cricket bat on a Geraldton beach in 2007.  His killer received five years imprisonment after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Manslaughter also arises where there is no intention to kill and usually results from a careless, reckless, negligent, or dangerous act.  A common example is driving a car, under the influence, in a dangerous manner which results in the death of a person.  A clear example of this is the case of The State of Western Australia v Norris [2013] WASCSR 13.

Mr Norris was driving erratically 150km/hr to evade a police vehicle.  He lost control of his car, and impacted with several trees on the verge.  The passenger was ejected from the car, incurring severe head injuries, and subsequently died.  A blood test taken from Mr Norris confirmed that he was under the influence of methyl amphetamine at the time the driving occurred.  A toxicologist report concluded that the quantity of methylamphetamine that Mr Norris had ingested, prior to driving, rendered him incapable of driving a motor vehicle safely.  Mr Norris plead guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

Should you, or anyone you know, need any help, in relation to manslaughter, or any other offences, contact Lawson Legal for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced criminal lawyers.