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Guildford Teen Who Ended His Life Thought He Was ‘Omnipotent Puppet-master’

Published on: 8 Jun, 2022
Updated on: 14 Jun, 2022

Daniel Mattin, of Guildford, was 19 when he died. Photo supplied by family.

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

A Guildford teen who ended his life thought of himself as an “omnipotent puppet-master” and compared his social interactions to playing chess.

A student nurse mistakenly allowed Daniel Mattin out of a secure mental health ward. Later that day, after buying a birthday present for a friend, 19-year-old Daniel tragically jumped from a tall building in Guildford.

Daniel, who was a patient voluntarily at Farnham Road Hospital in June last year after his section had ended, told his psychologist he didn’t want to hurt people.

Joanne Chwatow, principal counselling psychologist for Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, yesterday (June 6) gave evidence at Daniel’s inquest at Surrey Coroner’s Court.

The court heard how the former St Peter’s Catholic School student had revealed he had a tendency to manipulate people.

See also: Inquest Hears Last Words of Teen Who Jumped to His Death

When Ms Chwatow asked him how this felt, he told her: “I am excited and in control, omnipotent like a puppet-master”.

“He didn’t feel bad,” she said. “He compared it to playing chess.”

At the same time, Daniel showed a very caring side and appeared to be conflicted by this.

“He told me he didn’t want to hurt people in the future,” said Ms Chwatow.

“He generally never worried about the past. He said he’d done things in the past he was not proud of and he didn’t want to do them again.

“He was becoming aware of these impulses and the fact he enjoyed them troubled him.”

She said he had thought about suicide on and off for several years and found this “quite soothing”.

In describing his ideation he was “almost nonchalant”.

“We as staff took his concerns much more seriously than he did.”

Daniel “felt disappointed in himself in not getting the uni of his choice”.

He had turned down an offer from University of Portsmouth because he “didn’t like that particular uni” and had worked for Deliveroo and then cleaning 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 leading the group: “He cared for her but it was just too easy to manipulate her. He was annoyed he had become friends with her.”

He also said he thought mindfulness was beneath him and it was “all nonsense”.

“I’m just fed up that I’m better than everyone else here,” he said, adding: “How does it make you feel to know that I would be better at your job than you are?”

Ms Chwatow, who had said she had “been struck by Daniel’s charm” and how polite he was, said: “It was like a departure in that he dropped his mask. He openly presented his grandiosity.

“He was probably feeling quite inferior in that group and I can only guess in order to protect against that negative effect, he needed to protect that image of superiority.”

Coroner Darren Stewart heard it was probable he was presenting with an emerging personality disorder with narcissistic traits.

The psychologist told the jury this was about using relationships to enhance one’s own self-esteem and “at the root is inferiority, and possibly a bit of shame”.

The inquest continues.

Anyone struggling with issues mentioned in this story can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123.

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