The family of a man stabbed savagely to death on the A24 by a paranoid schizophrenic believe he might never have crossed paths with his killer if mental health experts had done their jobs better.
The NHS trust involved admitted this week failures in its care of severely mentally ill Matthew Daley.
The 35-year-old stabbed retired solicitor Don Lock 39 times after a minor, low-speed crash between their vehicles. Horrified witnesses described it as a frenzied attack.
Daley is now awaiting sentence on July 8 after a jury at Lewes Crown Court found him guilty on Monday of the manslaughter of 79-year-old Mr Lock.
After the trial Colm Donaghy, chief executive of the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, admitted failings in the care of Daley, while also indicating it was uncertain whether or not they would have led to the tragedy.
Mr Donaghy said in a statement seen by millions of television viewers: “We didn’t give Matthew the right care. What I can’t say is that that would have had an impact on the outcome.”
But Mr Lock’s grieving family insisted if Daley’s treatment had been different he would not have killed Mr Lock, who had only just been given the all-clear from cancer.
Referring to the Trust’s role, Mr Lock’s son Andrew said in a statement after the conclusion of the court hearing: “It is clearly clear that dad would still be here today if they had done their job properly. Nothing we say or do now will bring dad back to us.
“But we will continue the spirit that dad carried with him
Mr Lock was attacked soon after leaving his cycling club meeting at Washington at about 8.40pm on July 16 last year, driving home to Worthing in his Toyota Auris, following Daley in his Ford Fusion. Outside Rogers Farm on the A24 at Findon, Daley braked and Mr Lock collided with the back of his car at about 20mph.The crash was a minor bump causing only slight damage to each car. Both men got out of their cars but Daley was armed with a knife and stabbed Mr Lock to death.
Next day at Hill Barn Golf Course Daley was arrested. He had with him a rucksack containing the knife.
During his interview he told detectives where he had parked his car at the stables and where he had hidden his wellington boots in Pot Lane and his underpants in Water Lane.
Daley was charged with murder and his trial at Lewes Crown Court started on May 3.
Daley, of St Elmo Road, Worthing, admitted killing Mr Lock but claimed it was in self-defence and there was evidence about his mental state during the trial.The jury heard Daley had suffered with mental health problems for many years and although he believed he saw Mr Lock looking angry in his car this was part of his delusion. Witnesses describe Mr Lock as being very calm and Daley carrying out a frenzied attack. Mr Lock died at the scene from his injuries.
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.
“I would I’d like a pay tribute to the Lock family who have conducted themselves in a dignified manner during this very difficult time for them. Don Lock’s family has lost someone in the most awful circumstances.”
“The conclusion of this trial is sadly not going to change the events of the evening of July 16, 2015 but hopefully the trial has provided some answers to Mr Lock’s family.”