Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Mental health failings criticised.
The family of a retired solicitor stabbed to death by a mentally ill man following a minor road accident has criticised the NHS for failings in care that allowed the man to be free to kill.
Matthew Daley, 35, a paranoid schizophrenic, stabbed 79-year-old Donald Lock 39 times after their cars were involved in a minor shunt on the A24 at Findon, near Worthing, West Sussex, on July 16 2015.
Relatives of Mr Lock, who had recently gained the all clear from prostate cancer, said failings by the NHS Trust responsible for Daley's mental health care allowed him to kill.
Daley was cleared of murder after a trial at Lewes Crown Court but was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after eight hours' deliberation.
Outside court Mr Lock's son, Andrew, stood next to his mother, Maureen, said: “As a consequence of the failings of the NHS and this verdict, it is clear that dad would still be here today if they had done their job properly."
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has apologised to Daley's family, admitting its care of Matthew Daley "should have been better" but Mr Lock's family condemned the Trust for not also apologising to them.
Andrew Lock added: "It is upsetting to hear that the NHS has taken the trouble to write to the Daley family to apologise for their failings, yet we have received nothing in writing ourselves."
Trust chief executive, Colm Donaghy, said: "Having reviewed his care, it's clear that we should have reviewed Mr Daley's diagnosis, looked at other ways of providing treatment, done more to help him manage his symptoms of psychosis and listened to his family more closely.
"We got things wrong. But I do not believe that any of our staff acted in a way which was deliberately negligent or designed to cause harm. They knew Mr Daley well and believed they were doing the right things to help him. We will do things differently as a result of this tragic incident."
Daley stabbed Mr Lock after his Toyota crashed into the back of Daley's Ford Fusion at about 16mph, causing minor damage. The shunt happened after Mr Lock, who was returning from a cycling meeting just after 8.30pm, had to brake suddenly after Daley made an emergency stop.
Following the crash, Mr Lock got out of his car to ask Daley why he had braked suddenly. Daley then started to attack him with a knife while remaining calm "like Jesus Christ", he said.
As Daley lashed out with a four-and-a-half inch knife, a witness heard Mr Lock yell: "Help, help, get off me."
Another witness said Daley, who is being held in Hellingly medium-secure unit in East Sussex, was expressionless as he stabbed Mr Lock.
The two-week trial heard University of Portsmouth architecture graduate Daley had suffered mental illness for 10 years and his family had pleaded with experts to section him.
His mother Lynda Daley told jurors he was never given a proper diagnosis, that they had not been listened to by health professionals and how they often lived in a state of anxiety.
And his father, John Daley, wrote letters predicting his son could harm someone. In one, he wrote: "I am worried that it will end up with a fatality unless Matthew gets help with his obsessional behaviour and the voices."