Family of man who killed his father say mental health services ‘must change’

·4-min read

The family of a 23-year-old man who killed his father and tried to murder his mother have said “something must change” after they spent years begging mental health services to help him.

Garvey Gayle stabbed Michael Gayle, 54, to death at his mother’s home in Cypress Crescent, St Mellons, Cardiff on October 16 2020.

The father-of-four was pronounced dead at the scene having suffered more than 17 stab wounds.

Gayle also used the kitchen knife to stab his 50-year-old mother, Amanda Brookes, in the arm, stomach and side, during a psychotic “rage”. However, paramedics were able to save her.

Aged 21 at the time, Gayle fled the scene and was found by police officers at the Shell petrol garage on Newport Road holding a Bible and introducing himself as Jesus Christ.

His sisters told Cardiff Crown Court during his sentencing on Monday that the past three years had been like a “horror movie”.

Mary Sia and Essence Gayle said: “There will never be enough words to describe the impact this awful life-changing tragedy has had on us as a family.

“Losing our dad, and mum losing her partner under these unimaginable circumstances has been physically and mentally unbearable. The emptiness it has left us with is eerie and difficult to comprehend.

“Dad was a man like no other, truly one of a kind. He was the rock of our family on whom we all depended.

“As for mum, she has lost her life-long partner, soul mate and best friend of 34 years.”

“What mustn’t be forgotten is that we’ve also lost Garvey. A son, a brother, an uncle, a grandson, due to the results of his mental health,” they added.

“Whilst the past two years have been a living nightmare, what some may not realise is that the three years prior were also an uphill battle that was never-ending.

“We as a family did everything within our power to get Garvey the help he needed, I don’t know what more we could have done.

“As much as it pains us to say this, we all said that without professional help, something like this was inevitable, but still nothing could prepare us for what happened that night.

“It could have and should have been prevented.

“It should never have come to this. It should never have taken for our dad to die for our brother to get the help he needed many years ago.

“Our plea for help didn’t end the night we lost Dad.

“It will continue until we are satisfied that no other family has to go through the same tragedy and suffer the loss that we have faced.

“Lessons must be learned. Pro-action must take precedence over reaction. Something has to change.”

The court heard how Gayle first had contact with mental health services in 2018 and was later diagnosed with severe paranoid schizophrenia.

He had previous convictions for battery and criminal damage against Ms Brookes, with both incidents described as “related to his mental illness”.

He was first detained in January 2020 and was discharged in June, five months prior to the fatal incident.

Following the murder he was initially found unfit to plead but after months of treatment was able to enter pleas of guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Gayle, by reason of diminished responsibility, and the attempted murder of Ms Brookes.

Dr Chandan Sehgal, who wrote some of the 21 psychiatric reports compiled on Gayle for the case, told the court the defendant had “treatment resistant schizophrenia”.

He said Gayle suffers with “hallucinations, delusional beliefs and at times showed signs of hostility, aggression, threats and persecutory beliefs”.

Dr Sehgal said Gayle continues to hear voices and believes that others are “out to get him” and that he must “kill in order to preserve himself”.

David Elias QC, defending, said: “The horrific acts that led to such tragic consequences speak for themselves and we are acutely aware of the anguish caused to the family.

“It’s a credit to the family that they have recognised Garvey Gayle’s descent into mental illness before these tragic events is part of this tragedy.

“Garvey Gayle was very ill at the time of these events.”

Judge Michael Fitton QC said some of the facts of the case would not be detailed during the hearing to ensure “the welfare of the family and the mental health care of the defendant”.

Adding: “I am not here to comment on the defendant’s history and his care by psychiatric facilities.”

Sentencing him under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act, Judge Fitton ordered that Gayle be detained indefinitely at the Caswell Clinic in South Wales.

As he left the dock, Gayle turned to his family and said: “I love you mum. I’ll see you soon.”

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