The manslaughter of Don Lock
The killing of Don Lock has been a tragic case for all those involved.
Following the evidence given to the court the jury has found 35-year-old Matthew Daley guilty of this extremely violent offence.
What happened on 16 July 2015?
On a peaceful summer evening on July 16 2015 Don Lock, an avid cyclist, had left his cycling club meeting at Washington and was driving home to Worthing in his Toyota Auris. Driving in front of him was Matthew Daley, who had just finished looking after his horse at Rogers Farm and was also driving home in his Ford Fusion.
However, paranoid schizophrenic Daley believed he saw an angry Mr Lock in the car behind him and felt pressured as they both drove south on the A24 towards Worthing. Daley braked slightly and then more firmly, stopping his car unexpectedly, and Mr Lock collided with the back of his car. The crash was at around 16 mph causing virtually no damage to either car.
Mr Lock got out of his car to assess the damage and Daley, believing Mr Lock was shouting at him, which the jury heard was not the case at all, got out of his own car armed with a knife. Daley then attacked Mr Lock stabbing him 39 times, in what witnesses have described as a frenzied attack, before leaving.
Police officers and paramedics quickly arrived at the horrific scene and did all they could, but tragically Don died at the roadside.
After attacking him Daley then left the scene in his car and drove to Woodland Stables where he hid his car in the courtyard. He changed into his running clothes in a lane close to the stables. Wondering what to do he ran to a friend’s house in Exford Walk in Worthing, where he stayed for a couple of hours. He did not tell her what he had done. Around midnight he returned to his flat in St Elmo Road and washed his clothes, however in the early hours Daley left his flat again. Daley often ran for hours to manage his mental health and told police he contemplated a run but instead tried to visit his local church in Sompting.
During the morning Daley phoned his mum Lynda Daley and confessed to her that he had killed someone. They arranged to meet.
By this time a fast-paced police operation was underway with detectives working hard to find the man who had carried out this violent attack. According to the initial responders at the scene it was clear there was a violent man involved. Detectives were soon on the scene trying to piece together what had happened. They began gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses to gain a clear description of the man and car involved.
The media presence at the scene was growing and Detective Superintendent Adam Hibbert appealed to the community through the gathered media and reassured them that officers were doing all they could to trace the man.
Soon after Lynda Daley received the phone call from Daley, she contacted police and bravely directed them to where she was going to meet her son. At 2.02pm on Friday 17 July at Hill Barn Golf Course, less than three miles from the scene, Daley was sitting on a grass bank waiting for his mum when he was arrested. He had with him a rucksack containing the knife.
Investigating the crime
During the interview Matthew Daley he told detectives how he approached Don Lock and attacked him before driving to the stables.
In relaying what happened he also told them he had hidden his wellington boots in Pot Lane and his underpants in Water Lane.
Detectives seized and examined both cars; Don’s Toyota, from the crime scene, and Daley’s Ford, found the next day at the stables.
Daley was charged with murder on Sunday 19 July.
He has never denied it was him who killed Mr Lock but claimed he acted in self-defence, however the jury found him guilty of manslaughter.
While Daley was in prison awaiting trial he wrote and addressed a letter to the BBC in London. The letter contained three handwritten sheets of A4 paper talking about what happened on 16 July as well as his horses and goats. The letter was seized before it was posted and has been used as evidence.
The trial into the murder of Don Lock started on Tuesday 3 May at Lewes Crown Court. Daley admitted killing Mr Lock but claimed it was in self-defence. The jury heard Daley suffers from paranoid schizophrenia 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 before Daley carried out a frenzied attack.
Matthew Daley was convicted of manslaughter on Monday 16 May 2016.
Don's family's statement
Today's manslaughter verdict brings to a close the most horrific 10 months of our lives and brings some sort of justice for dad, although very little comfort is taken from it.
This verdict effectively provides the Daley family with what they have wanted for the last few years, their son in a safe place away from harm’s way and being treated correctly. For them they can still visit their son, hug him and talk to him and enjoy aspects of his life with him albeit constrained at the same time. For us all we can do is cling on to the wonderful memories of dad.
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.
Nothing we say or do now will bring dad back to us, but we will continue the spirit that dad carried with him, through the family, our friends and the many people with whom dad had had such an impact over the course of his life.
It is clear now to all, that this incident confirms nothing more than that Dad was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Dad would never hurt a fly, let alone another human being and having to relive the nature and extent of dad's injuries is something we would not wish on our worst enemy.
It is upsetting to hear that the NHS has 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.
The family are deeply grateful to all those witnesses that gave statements, especially Abby and Jasmine Smith and Andrew Slater, who stood in the witness box and re-lived what they saw unfold in front of their eyes. Also, to the various people at the scene who tried in vain to help dad although we know now that it was almost certain one of the earliest wounds punctured his Aorta and from this point on he would have known very little. We hope that all of these wonderful people can try and move on in their lives as well now and not suffer any further in their thoughts.
Dad has left huge holes to fill in both our family and in the cycling world too.
Dad was the glue that held the family together and the oil that removed any friction at the same time. We all now have to find new ways to continue what dad created from when Sandra and I were first born to the day he died. A close family that had learnt respect, how to laugh, how to love and how to always be there for those that needed you most. As we have said before, he always knew the right thing to say at the right time, in the right way.
In the cycling world, dad's beloved Worthing Excelsior Cycling Club has had to come to terms with the loss too, many members missing his encouragement and support, the snippets of advice or even the holler from the side of the road encouraging the racing members to "get a move on" as he would often put it.
In fact it was only a week or two before dad's passing when after one of the previous club race meetings at Washington, when seeking out my time for the event, said to me, "that's not a time, that's a date". Dad had the art of mixing humour and criticism in such a way that all it did was spur you on to do better.
Our last thank-yous must go to Sussex Police and specifically Paul Rymarz, Duncan Elliott and Barbara Douglas for all their hard work in securing this verdict but significantly Laura Carron, our Family Liaison Officer who has been an absolute rock for us and who now is having to deal with her own health issues. We wish you a speedy and full recovery Laura. We must also thank Phil Bennetts QC, who has understood the family from the beginning, listened to our thoughts and conducted the trial in impeccable fashion to secure this verdict.
We shall leave you now to go and establish the new normal in our lives and continue dad's wonderful spirit.
Love you dad and Up the Albion.
A reflection from the Senior Investigating Officer
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. It happened in a peaceful area of West Sussex on a busy road which thousands of people use regularly. This terrible incident came out of the blue and when it happened, it was horrific for all first responders and witnesses.
“What has struck us is how dignified Don’s family have been throughout the whole investigation. We have been humbled by them and I hope the trial has provided them with some answers so they can somehow move on after what was a terrible incident.
“I would also like to thank all those involved in investigating the case, from the first responders, the forensics and investigation teams who brought this to court.”
Matthew Daley was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of ten years on 8 July 2016.
This material has been released with the support of Don Lock’s family.