A teenager from Guildford who ended his life considered himself an “omnipotent puppet master” and compared his social interactions to playing chess. A nursing student mistakenly cleared Daniel Mattin out of a secure mental health ward and later that day, after buying a birthday present for a friend, the 19-year-old tragically jumped off a tall building in Guildford.
Daniel, who was a voluntary patient at Farnham Road Hospital in June last year after finishing his section, told his psychologist he didn’t want to hurt people. Joanne Chwatow, Senior Counseling Psychologist for the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, gave evidence yesterday (June 6) at Daniel’s inquest at Surrey Coroner’s Court.
The court heard how the former pupil of St Peter’s Catholic School revealed he had a tendency to manipulate people. When Ms Chwatow asked him how that felt, he told her: ‘I’m excited and in control, omnipotent like a puppeteer.’
Read more: Guildford teenager ‘went to M&S to buy patient’s birthday present’ before ending his life
“He didn’t feel bad,” she said. “He compared it to playing chess.” At the same time, Daniel showed a very caring side and seemed to conflict with it. “He told me he didn’t want to hurt people in the future,” Ms Chwatow said.
“He usually never worried about the past. He said he had done things in the past that he wasn’t proud of and didn’t want to do them again. He was aware of those impulses and the the fact that he liked them troubled him.”
She said he had thought about suicide from time to time for several years and found it “quite soothing”. In describing his ideation, he was “almost nonchalant”. “As staff, we took his concerns much more seriously than he did.”
Daniel “felt disappointed not to have obtained the university of his choice”. He had turned down an offer from the University of Portsmouth because he ‘didn’t like that particular university’ and had worked for Deliveroo and then cleaned trains.
Two days before his death, Daniel had argued in a self-esteem group with Miss L, with whom he had become very close and confided in. He told the assistant psychologist who was leading the group: “He cared about her but it was too easy. to manipulate it. He was annoyed that he had become friends with her.
He also said he thought mindfulness was below him and that it was “all nonsense”. “I’m just sick of me being better than everyone here,” he said, adding, “How does it feel to know that I’d be better than you at your job?”
Ms Chwatow, who said she was ‘struck by Daniel’s charm’ and politeness, said: ‘It was like a departure in that he dropped his mask. He openly presented his greatness. He probably felt quite inferior to that group and I can only assume that to protect against that negative effect, he needed to protect that image of superiority.”
Coroner Darren Stewart was told it was likely he had an emerging personality disorder with narcissistic traits. The psychologist told the jury it was about using the relationships to improve one’s own self-esteem and “at the base there is inferiority, and maybe a bit of shame.” The investigation is continuing. Anyone struggling with the issues mentioned in this story can call the Samaritans free of charge on 116 123.
You don’t have to suffer in silence if you have mental health issues. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help:
Samaritans: phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email [email protected], confidential
Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and will not appear on your bill
PAPYRUS: Voluntary organization to help suicidal teenagers and young adults. Telephone 0800 068 4141
Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline but offers useful resources and links to further information on its website
Students Against Depression: A website for depressed, moody, or suicidal students. Click on here to visit
Bullying UK: a website for children and adults affected by bullying. Click on here
Campaign Against Living Miserable (CALM): for young men who feel unhappy. Has a website here and a hotline: 0800 58 58 58