R v. Hayward (1908) 21 Cox CC 692
The defendant chased his wife while shouting threats at her. During this, she fell and died. It was established that he did not physically touch her. However, and unknown to both the defendant and his wife, she was suffering from a thyroid condition, which made her more likely to die from the combination of physical exertion and panic. Her running was the physical exertion, and the threats were the panic.The defendant was charged with manslaughter.
There is a rule that a person must take his victim as he finds him. The victim’s medical condition did not affect the question of who caused her death and does not break the chain of causation.
The defendant’s acts were accordingly held to be the factual and legal cause of his wife’s death.