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There is no statutory definition of murder, but Sir Edward Coke in 1644 laid down a common law definition still generally accepted today. Murder is committed, he said, when a man of sound memory [that is, one who is not insane], and of the age of discretion [over the age of 10], unlawfully killeth within any county of the realm [anywhere in the UK, or on any British ship or aircraft, or by a British citizen anywhere in the world] any reasonable creature in rerum natura [a human being] under the King's peace [anyone except foreign enemies killed in the heat of battle], with malice aforethought either expressed by the party or implied by law [an intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm], so as the party wounded or hurt die of the wound or hurt within a year and a day after the same [that rule having now been rescinded].

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