Press Release 08/12/2020

PRESS RELEASE: 

08 December 2020

Melanie Leahy will take campaign to Downing Street on behalf of families failed by Essex Mental Health Services with personal delivery of letter to Boris Johnson 

Melanie Leahy and other members of the 53 families are expressing their disappointment directly to the Prime Minister, after an Independent Review was announced to look into failings at the Linden Centre over a 20 year period. 

The review was announced last week, at the end of a Westminster Hall debate but stopped short of the families’ call for a full Statutory Public Inquiry into failings of mental health care in Essex. 

The debate was held in response to a successful petition organised by Melanie Leahy, from the Maldon area, which attracted more than 105,580 signatures. 

Melanie’s son Matthew, was found hanging in his room at the Linden Centre in 2012. Melanie said: “The proposed inquiry is toothless. All along, the other families and I have stated that a full Statutory Public Inquiry is the only way to get answers. We demand answers that will not just provide justice for our loved ones, but also provide vital learning to make sure no other families go through our pain. 

“We will not be ignored. In writing to Boris Johnson, I hope he will hear our calls, understand the importance and critical need for a Statutory Public Inquiry. The Government have a real chance to change their course and commit to improving mental health services, not just within the Linden Centre but across the county of Essex.” 

Melanie put the letter out for signatures on Saturday 5 December and in that time has obtained over 2000 signatures in support. 

The letter will be delivered at approximately 2.15 pm on Wednesday 9 December to no 10 Downing Street. (Copy of letter can be seen here)

Nina Ali, Partner at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors, states: “Melanie and other families have fought too hard and for too long to be now fobbed off with yet another investigation that we all know will simply not provide the answers so desperately needed.”

Priya Singh, Associate at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors, added: “If the Government are serious about improving mental health care, then it must be the case that those responsible are obliged to attend and compelled to give their evidence on oath, and the only way to do that is via a statutory public inquiry.”

Deborah Coles, Director of the charity INQUEST said: “An independent inquiry without the backing of the families affected will not take us further than the countless previous investigations and inquests. None have prevented further deaths or enabled accountability and change. Now nothing less than a full Statutory Public Inquiry will suffice. If not for the dedication and persistence of families affected, the failings in Essex mental health services would never have come to light. The minister owes it to these families, who have been already been repeatedly failed by the state, to meet their demands.”

Melanie will be delivering the letter to Mr Boris Johnson on behalf of the families impacted, and lighting a candle in memory of all their loved ones and to Jayden Booroff, 23 years old, whose funeral takes place in Chelmsford, at the same time. Jayden is the latest patient to be failed whilst under the care of Essex Partnership University Trust. 

Melanie plans to be by the railings, opposite Downing Street, from 2pm to 2.30 pm on Wednesday, 9 December 2020.