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Donald Lock's family slams NHS over killing by mentally ill Matthew Daley

By Tom Pugh

The Northern Irish chief executive of a health trust in England that left a mentally ill man free to kill a retired solicitor has admitted: "We got things wrong".

Paranoid schizophrenic Matthew Daley (35), knifed 79-year-old Donald Lock 39 times after their cars crashed on the A24 in West Sussex last July.

Daley was yesterday cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after a hearing at Lewes Crown Court.

Relatives of Mr Lock, who was given the all-clear from prostate cancer shortly before he was killed, criticised the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which apologised to Daley's family for failings, including never giving him a proper diagnosis and failing to listen to family warnings about his mental state.

Mr Lock's son, Andrew said: "It is clear dad would still be here if they had done their job. It is upsetting to hear that the NHS have taken the trouble to write to the Daley family to apologise, yet we as a family have received nothing in writing ourselves."

Colm Donaghy, chief executive of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and former chief executive of the Belfast Health Trust, said: "It's clear we should have reviewed Mr Daley's diagnosis, looked at other ways of providing treatment, done more to help him manage his symptoms and listened to his family more closely. We got things wrong, but I do not believe staff acted in a way which was deliberately negligent."

A two-week trial heard that the defendant stabbed Mr Lock with a four-and-half inch knife after their cars crashed at 16mph, causing minor damage.

The court was told that University of Portsmouth architecture graduate Daley had suffered from mental illness for 10 years, and that his family had "pleaded" with experts to section him.

His mother, Lynda Daley, told jurors her son was never given a proper diagnosis and that the family were not listened to.

Daley's father, John, wrote letters predicting his son could harm someone. One read: "I'm worried it will end up with a fatality unless he gets help with his behaviour and the voices."

He also told jurors: "This 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. It didn't have to happen."

Experts called by the defence said Daley had been wrongly diagnosed with Asperger's, instead of paranoid schizophrenia.

The defendant did not give evidence at the trial, but in a police interview he said: "I'm not happy 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."

Daley will be sentenced on July 8.

Belfast Telegraph


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