Traylor & Anor v Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust [2022] EWHC 260 (QB) (10 February 2022)

On 8 February 2015 Marc Traylor suffered a psychotic episode. He threatened to stab his daughter, Kitanna Traylor. Police officers, and Marc Traylor’s father, attended. In the early hours of 9 February, he stabbed Kitanna several times, causing serious injuries. He was shot three times by armed police officers. He was subsequently prosecuted for attempted murder. The jury found that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. [1]

Marc Traylor brings a claim against Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust (“the Trust”). He says that the Trust was negligent in its treatment of his mental illness, and this caused what happened on 9 February 2015 and his resulting injuries. The Trust accepts that a decision on 3 December 2014 to discharge Marc Traylor from secondary psychiatric care “was not handled correctly” but denies other allegations of negligence. It also says:

(1) Any breach of duty did not cause what happened on 9 February 2015. The cause of those events was Marc Traylor’s decision to stop taking his medication.

(2) Marc Traylor voluntarily accepted the risk that he might act as he did on 9 February 2015 because he stopped taking his medication, against medical advice.

(3) Marc Traylor’s claim must fail because the events on 9 February 2015 resulted from his own criminal acts.

(4) Alternatively, any damages should be reduced on account of Marc Traylor’s fault (“contributory negligence”) when he stopped taking his medication. [2]

Kitanna Traylor brings a separate claim against the Trust. She says that it failed to take positive steps to protect her right to life and her right not to be subject to inhuman or degrading treatment, and that these failings resulted in the events of 9 February 2015. The Trust responds that it was not required to take steps to protect Kitanna Traylor’s Convention rights, and that in any event it acted compatibly with those rights. It says that even if it did act incompatibly with her rights, this was not the cause of the events of 9 February 2015. Accordingly, any damages should be limited to an award for non-pecuniary loss to reflect a breach of her Convention rights, rather than compensation for the injuries she sustained. [3]

The Trust took reasonable steps to avoid the risk that Marc Traylor would suffer a relapse of his psychotic illness. D sought to persuade Marc Traylor to remain on depot injections and, failing that, to remain on his oral medication. Marc Traylor and Nicole Traylor were told about the early signs and symptoms of relapse so that they could seek medical help. Regular monitoring was carried out to ensure that Marc Traylor was not relapsing and that he was taking his medication. This did not pick up that Marc Traylor had stopped taking his medication, in part because he lied to Nicole Traylor and to the mental health care team staff. [149]

The Trust is not therefore liable in negligence to Marc Traylor. It is not liable to Kitanna Traylor under the Human Rights Act 1998. [150]