Family of ex-soldier who took his own life win payout from NHS bosses

The family of a former soldier who took his own life have won a six-figure payout after NHS chiefs admitted a catalogue of failings in his care.

Aidan Knight, 29, served in Iraq with the elite 2 Para but left after five years, telling his mother he had seen “too much death”. He also struggled to cope with the loss of his brother, George, in 2012.

Lawyers representing his family said the father-of-three killed himself after trying to get help from mental health professionals for two months.

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has written to his family apologising for the “failings in the care he received” before his death.

Mr Knight’s three children have been awarded the financial settlement to be split between them after lawyers brought a civil action against the trust in the High Court.

Undated handout photo issued by Hodge Jones & Allen of the family of Aidan Knight (names not given) outside the High Court in London. The family of the former soldier who committed suicide have won a six-figure payout from NHS bosses after they admitted a catalogue of failings in his care. PRESS ASSOCIATION
Mr Knight’s family brought a civil action against the NHS in the High Court

Mr Knight’s mother Angie Aleksejuk, 55, from Stafford, said: “I wish that just one person had thought differently in the period leading up to Aidan’s death, as if they had he may still be here.

“He ticked all the boxes of being at risk – a former serviceman, under 30, he had lost his brother, lived alone and he even presented himself to A&E – but he slipped through the net.

“What happened has devastated our family. This was never about getting compensation but getting the trust to apologise for their failings in Aidan’s care.”

Mr Knight joined the Army aged 17 and within two years was on a six-month tour of duty in Iraq.

He left after five years and died in a park in Crawley, West Sussex, in April 2015 – the day before what would have been his brother’s birthday.

A coroner concluded his death was a suicide and a serious incident mental health review admitted the trust should have done more for Mr Knight.

Between 2014 and 2015, Mr Knight took an overdose in the first of four bids to end his life.

Undated handout photo issued by Hodge Jones & Allen of Aidan Knight (names of children or relationship not given)
Lawyers representing the family issued this photo of Mr Knight with two children, who have not been named

Despite assessments by police and NHS psychiatrists recording that he had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he was not considered high risk enough to be admitted to hospital.

But he went to accident and emergency at East Surrey Hospital on 5 March 2015.

A psychiatric nurse diagnosed PTSD symptoms and five days later the community mental health team assessed him.

It was not until March 26 that his referral to a mental health practitioner was confirmed.

During that time his GP prescribed him anti-depressants for his erratic behaviour.

But his mental health practitioner was on holiday until April 8 and he was not reassigned to another case worker.

His body was found that day.

Mrs Aleksejuk added: “There were a number of missed opportunities to save him and it just feels like nobody listened to him.

“I’m realistic enough to realise that even if people had listened to him he may still have done what he did, but we will never know.

“I wouldn’t want anybody to go through what we have as living through this has been like torture and has scarred us all.”

The trust has been contacted for comment.

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