THE family of a retired solicitor stabbed to death by a mentally ill man following a minor shunt have criticised the NHS for failings that left him free to kill.
Matthew Daley, 35, knifed 79-year-old Donald Lock 39 times after their cars crashed on the A24 at Findon, near Worthing, West Sussex, on July 16 last year.
Relatives of Mr Lock, who had recently been given the all-clear from prostate cancer, said failings by the NHS Trust responsible for Daley’s mental health care allowed him to kill.
At Lewes Crown Court, Daley was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after eight hours’ deliberation.
Mr Lock’s daughter fled court in tears as the verdict was announced and said outside court that there ‘is no justice any more’.
Stood by Mr Lock’s widow Maureen, their son Andrew said outside court: ‘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 him ‘should have been better’.
But Mr Lock’s family condemned the Trust for not apologising to them.
His son said: ‘It is upsetting to hear that the NHS have taken the trouble to write to the Daley family to apologise for their failings, yet we as a family have received nothing in writing ourselves.’
Colm Donaghy, chief executive of the Trust, 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.’
Paranoid schizophrenic 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, a ‘calm’ Mr Lock got out of his car to ask Daley why he had braked suddenly. Daley then launched a knife attack on him while remaining calm ‘like Jesus Christ’, he said.
As Daley lashed out with a four-and-a-half inch knife, he told Mr Lock to die and swore at him, the trial heard.
A witness also 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, looked expressionless’ as he stabbed Mr Lock, like he was ‘having a passport photo’ taken.
Passer-by Andrew Slater tried to remonstrate with Daley, telling him: ‘Come on mate, leave it out.’ Mr Slater retreated to his car when he saw a knife in Daley’s clenched fist.
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.’
Daley’s younger sister, Rebecca Daley, described Mr Lock’s killing as ‘everything we feared would happen over the last 10 years’.
And Mr Daley told jurors: ‘I am thinking to myself, this poor man and his family will have to live with my son’s actions for the rest of their lives.
‘They will never be able to understand what happened, their lives have been ruined, my son’s life and expectations have been ruined, and it didn’t have to happen.’
Experts called by the defence said Daley had been wrongly diagnosed with Asperger’s and had paranoid schizophrenia undiagnosed for years.
His mental health declined after the break-up of his parents’ marriage while he was at university. To help control his illness, he would run a couple of marathons a week, spending hours on the Downs, often with his pet goats.
Daley did not give evidence at the trial. In a police interview, Daley described feeling ‘threatened and afraid’ as he claimed Mr Lock tailgated him while allegedly shouting obscenities from behind his wheel.
Expressing sorrow, Daley said: ‘I’m not happy that the man has died. I’m not happy that in the final minutes of his life he was in that much pain, and I don’t want to be reminded of it.
‘I feel very sorry about what I have done and I don’t want to see anything like that happen in my lifetime again.’
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rymarz, who led the investigation for Surrey and Sussex major crime team, said: ‘This is a tragic case for all those involved, both families have had their lives changed forever.’
Daley will be sentenced on July 8.