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Family of Crawley soldier who took his own life receive NHS payout

Former soldier Aidan Knight took his own life in 2015 Photo: Hodge Jones and Allen

The family of a former soldier who took his own life have been given a six-figure payout from a Sussex NHS trust after health chiefs failed to spot warning signs.

Aidan Knight, who was 29, hung himself in a park in Crawley in 2015, after trying to get help from mental health professionals for months.

Aidan Knight, who served in Iraq, seen

The father-of-three, who had served in Iraq with the elite 2 para, phoned his mum to say he was “going to his brother’s party” before hanging himself from a tree.

Aidan joined the army at the age of 17 and did a six-month tour of duty in Iraq within his first two years of service.

He left after five years, telling his mother he had seen “too much death”. Described as a “tortured soul” after his return to Britain, Aidan had also been devastated by the loss of his brother George in 2012.

Aidan Knight in happier times

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.”

– Angie Aleksejuk (Aidan's mother) 55, from Stafford
Aidan was a father-of-three

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

Desperate for help, he went to A&E at East Surrey Hospital on March 5, 2015. A psychiatric nurse diagnosed PTSD symptoms and five days later the community mental health team assessed him.

Aidan in happier times

It took until March 26 to confirm his referral to a mental health practitioner. During that time Aidan received a prescription of antidepressants, but his practitioner was on holiday until April 8.

It was in the early hours of this day that Aidan’s body was discovered at Tilgate Park in Crawley.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust issued a letter of apology to his family for the ‘failings in the care he received’ in the two months before his death.

Aidan’s three children have received a six figure financial settlement to be split between the three of them.