The mother of a mentally ill teenager who stabbed a dog walker to death ten days after being released from a psychiatric unit has demanded a public apology from the Hywel Dda health board for her son and the family of his victim.
Lewis Stone, 71, was set upon by David Fleet, 20, on the banks of the River Leri on February 28 2019 after the teenager heard ‘voices in his head that were going to kill him’ – and tragically died in hospital three months later.
Fleet’s mother Sharon Lees told the BBC that prior to the incident she had struggled to control her son’s mental state and that he had become increasingly erratic in the build up to being detained in a psychiatric unit.
Following a frightening incident in which he had ‘severely self-harmed’ in his room he was placed on anti-psychotic medication – however his mindset continued to decline.
She said: ‘He seemed to think that we’d put something on his head to erase his memory. It was like he was seeing things that weren’t there.
David Fleet stabbed a man to death after leaving a psychiatric unit
‘It was clear that he was in psychosis. He started asking bizarre questions about someone watching us.
‘Eventually he said to me that he thought he might have to kill someone because ‘people are watching us, there was hidden cameras everywhere and nowhere is safe’ – that was when I said he had to come with me to hospital.
‘We had to prise the knife off him to get him into the car and get him into hospital.’
Following his turn, Fleet was detained under the Mental Health Act but was allowed home for visits despite Sharon claiming to have warned hospital staff he was looking for knives.
After spending four months in the facility as an in-patient, Fleet was sent home to the dismay of his mother who knew she would not be able to control him at home.
Sharon had raised her son in the seaside town of Borth, Ceredigion.
Lewis Stone was set upon by David Fleet on the banks of the River Leri on February 28 2019
She said: ‘I just cried because I just don’t know how I’m going to cope… he’s over 6ft tall, I can’t stop him from going out.’
Recalling the dreadful day Fleet’s behaviour spiralled past the point of no return, Sharon said she ‘knew’ something awful had happened.
She recalled: ‘I’m trying to phone him, trying to message him… I looked out of the back window and I could see the air ambulance.
‘I just remember having this really sinking feeling. Like I knew.’
According to a BBC Wales investigation, a copy of an internal health board report into Fleet’s care before the attack revealed that three weeks before the stabbing, a doctor had warned he was not ready to leave hospital because of his ‘worsening mental state.’
It also referenced the ‘risks he posed with knives.’
However, the teenager was sent home without his risk assessment being updated.
On the day of the incident, Fleet did not receive a dose of his anti-psychotic medication.
He would go on to plead guilty to Mr Stone’s manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.
He has since been detained indefinitely at a secure psychiatric unit.
The family of Mr Stone have said that despite his issues there was ‘no excuse or forgiveness’ for the killer and that and ‘nothing could be said or done to help them understand or move on from what’s happened’.
Sharon had raised her son David Fleet in the seaside town of Borth, Ceredigion
They did concede that ‘huge failings in the mental health sector’ allowed the ‘monster [to be] walking the streets, able to cause such harm.’
Under pressure to open an independent mental health homicide review, the Welsh government has since said it is ‘satisfied’ with the Hywel Dda health board’s ‘thorough’ investigation of the case.
The board said it shared its internal report into Fleet’s care with the Welsh government but would not publish it as it contains confidential medical information.
However Sharon believes more should be done and an apology would calm the waters.
She said: ‘The feelings of guilt and remorse that David is feeling are incomprehensible.
‘It’s really important for just not only us, but for Mr Stone’s family to have a public apology because of his illness and the lack of care that he received… it only feels justified that he also receives an apology because the health board failed him, which then in turn failed his victim’s family.’
Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience for Hywel Dda University Health Board told MailOnline: ‘We are unable to comment upon any individual cases as we have a duty of care and duty of confidentiality to our patients.
‘In the event of a serious incident we have robust processes in place for reviewing the incident internally, identifying any issues and, where appropriate, preparing an improvement plan to prevent such an occurrence in the future.
‘We regret any such incidents, and always seek to learn from them. We endeavour to engage with those directly impacted whenever there is cause for concern.
‘For the most serious incidents we would conduct a clinical review of the incident. Our aim is to identify learning points and to have the relevant information available that will explain what, why and how the incident happened.
‘In accordance with national guidelines we will then submit a Serious Incident Report to Welsh Government or National Reportable Incident to the NHS Wales Executive, depending on the policy requirements at the time of the incident.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk