R v Slingsby – Case Summary

R v Slingsby

Crown Court

Citations: [1995] Crim LR 570.


The defendant consensually penetrated a woman with his hand. The woman suffered superficial cuts from the defendant’s ring in the process. She did not realise the potential seriousness of her injuries, which eventually developed into sepsis and killed her.

The defendant was charged with unlawful act manslaughter. His defence was that the woman had consented to his acts and the risk involved in them. The prosecution responded by arguing that it was not possible to rely on the woman’s consent, since the law prohibits consent to actual bodily harm (or worse).

  1. Was the woman’s consent a defence to manslaughter?

The defendant was not guilty of manslaughter. The woman’s consent was a valid defence to the battery (the unlawful act the manslaughter charge was based on), and the mere fact that injury had accidentally occurred did not invalidate this.

This Case is Authority For…

While a person cannot consent to injury, they can consent to the risk of injury. Consent to touching is not vitiated by the fact that accidental injury results.


This case demonstrates that to establish unlawful act manslaughter, the prosecution must prove that the defendant committed the unlawful act and had no defence.