A man who stabbed Worthing Excelsior Cycling Club stalwart Donald Lock to death last year following a minor collision between the cars they were driving has been acquitted of murder but found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Mr Lock, aged 79, was stabbed by Matthew Daley, 35, after crashing into the back of his car at 16 miles an hour on the A24 at Findon, West Sussex on 17 July last year. He had been returning from a club meeting, reports The Guardian.
The following month, hundreds of cyclists, many of them sporting the colours of the club where he was described as a “legend” attended Mr Lock’s funeral at Worthing Crematorium, riding alongside the hearse as it made its way there and holding up wheels in tribute as his coffin passed beneath.
During his trial at Lewes Crown Court, the jury heard that Daley had a history of mental health problems stretching back a decade and that his family, fearful that an incident of this nature might happen, had tried to have him sectioned shortly before he killed Mr Lock.
Witnesses described how Daley was “calm” and “expressionless” as he stabbed Mr Lock, who had got out of his car to ask him why he had suddenly braked.
Both Daley’s mother and father told the court that they believed health professionals had failed their son and that Mr Lock’s death could have been avoided had he been treated properly.
One forensic psychiatrist told the court that in his expert opinion, Daley had been misdiagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was actually suffering from paranoid schizophrenia illness.
However, another forenic psychiatrist giving expert testimony said he did not believe Daley was in a psychotic state when he killed Mr Lock, highlighting that he had no audio hallucinations at the time.
Daley’s mother, Lynda Daley, spoke of her reaction on learning that he was the suspect in the case. “I couldn’t believe it but, because of where it was, my heart sunk and all I kept thinking was, ‘We tried our best’,” she said.
His father John Daley had written to his son’s doctor in September 2013 to say: “I am concerned [that] Matthew could end up hurting someone or worse unless he resumes taking his medication.”
In a further letter in March 2014, he said: “I am worried that it will end up with a fatality unless Matthew gets help with his obsessional behaviour and the voices.”
He told the jury: “All our nightmares had come to pass and just unnecessarily because I know that people with mental conditions like this can be treated, people can be sectioned, people can have injections and these things do not need to happen.
Speaking about Mr Lock, he said: “I am thinking to myself, this poor man and his family” – his wife of 55 years Maureen and son David, both of whom were in court – “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.
“Had I been more assertive and angry in my dealings it might not have happened,” he added.
“I have always had a measured response with the authorities – it’s not the way to deal when you have a problem, you must shout and scream from the rooftops, because being reasonable never gets an outcome.”
According to the Guardian, 10 days before Daley’s trial, the chairman of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation trust wrote to his family and acknowledged that it “should have been better” in its dealings with him – an apology his sister said came “10 years too late.”
Daley, who is being held in a semi-secure unit in East Sussex, is due to be sentenced on 8 July.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.