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Man jailed for stabbing pensioner to death in road rage attack

Published 08/07/2016

Matthew Daley is to be sentenced over the killing of Donald Lock
Matthew Daley is to be sentenced over the killing of Donald Lock

A mentally-ill man has been sentenced to life with a minimum term of 10 years for killing a retired solicitor after their cars were involved in a minor collision.

Matthew Daley, 35, knifed 79-year-old Donald Lock 39 times on the A24 at Findon, near Worthing in West Sussex, on July 16 last year.

Daley stabbed Mr Lock after his Toyota crashed into the back of Daley's Ford Fusion at about 16mph, causing minor damage to both cars.

Before the killing, Daley's family had "pleaded" with clinicians to section him as his mental health declined, a trial heard.

At Lewes Crown Court, Daley was sentenced by judge Mr Justice Singh after he was convicted of manslaughter but cleared of murder in May.

The judge ruled that instead of being detained in jail, Daley will be held in Hellingly medium-secure psychiatric hospital in East Sussex under the Mental Health Act.

If and when it becomes no longer necessary, Daley will be transferred to prison to serve the remainder of the minimum term.

When the minimum term has expired, Daley will be eligible for release on licence by the Parole Board, Mr Justice Singh added.

The judge said it was a "violent, unprovoked attack" in front of members of the public aggravated partly by Mr Lock's age and the use of a weapon.

Sentencing Daley, the judge said: "It's clear from the verdict that the defendant's responsibility for the homicide was substantially impaired.

"It does not follow that it was completely extinguished."

Days before the trial started, chiefs at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust apologised to Daley's relatives for not doing more.

Mr Lock's son Andrew Lock criticised the Trust after the trial, saying his father would still be alive if mental health teams had done their jobs properly.

Trust chief executive Colm Donaghy said "we got things wrong" and signalled changes would follow but he believed staff were not deliberately negligent.

The judge said: "It would be inappropriate for me to comment further because this has been a criminal trial and not for example a public inquiry.

"However, I hope that the appropriate authorities will do everything possible to investigate what happened and to learn appropriate lessons for the future. The public is entitled to no less."

At today's sentencing hearing, Andrew Lock read a heart-rending family victim impact statement written by his sister Sandra Goodlad which revealed the family's deep sense of loss.

He said: "It's the most overwhelming pain that you can ever imagine and it catches you by surprise continuously.

"You can be talking and laughing one minute, and then break down in tears the next. We would not wish what we have been through on our worst enemy."

Mr Lock would have turned 80 last week and a big party had been planned by his widow before he was killed, his son added.

His voice trembling with emotion, he told how his father was enjoying his retirement cycling and following Brighton and Hove Albion FC before he died. And he went on: "He was a real gentleman who loved life."

Following the verdict, an independent review of 10 killings involving patients known to the Trust was announced, including that of paranoid schizophrenic Daley.

The shunt happened after Mr Lock, who was returning from a cycling meeting, had to brake suddenly after Daley inexplicably 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, you f****** c***", the trial heard. A witness also heard Mr Lock yell: "Help, help, get off me."

Another witness said Daley 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.

Mr Lock, who had recently been given the all-clear from prostate cancer and was to become a great-grandfather for a sixth time, died at the scene.

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".

In mitigation, defence counsel David Howker QC said Daley was a "gentle man" whose offending was "solely confined to his mental illness".

He said Daley expressed his remorse in a letter to the Lock family before the trial started.

Mr Howker said: "Being under-diagnosed for many years meant that he was never properly treated.

"We would submit that were it not, to some extent, for that failure we probably wouldn't be here today.

"This incident starts and finishes with his mental health illness."

Following today's sentencing, Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity Sane, said: "This tragedy could have been prevented and two families saved from grief and heartbreak.

"It is extraordinary that the psychiatric services refused to take notice of repeated 'red alert' warnings from the parents of Matthew Daley and that he was denied the care and treatment he needed over 10 years."

Daley's family, including his mother Lynda and sister Rebecca, left court without speaking to reporters.

On the court's steps, Mr Lock's son Andrew Lock called for the "systematic arrogance" in the medical world to change.

He said: "Today's sentencing doesn't bring dad back, it doesn't remove from our memories what happened on that horrific night.

"However at least we can move on knowing that the public are property protected from a man who, whilst badly treated by the NHS through a catalogue of failures, is a danger to the public if not supervised and properly medicated."

Mr Lock said it was important to acknowledge the judge's observation that it was not a public inquiry into failings in the NHS.

But he added: "It's now up to the NHS for the systematic arrogance that exists in the medical world changes for good and that we all deserve to be listened to."

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Rymarz, of Sussex Police, said he now hoped the Lock family would be able to "move on together".

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