Police probe Essex Mental Health Trust over 25 death

Police are investigating the deaths of 25 patients of an Essex NHS Trust, it emerged today.

Detectives had been looking into the deaths of seven people in the care of North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust after 20-year-old Matthew Leahy was found hanging at the Linden Centre in Chelmsford, Essex.

The investigation has now been expanded to examine the deaths of up to 25 people at nine different mental health units run by the trust since 2000.

MPs Priti Patel, who is the local MP for many of the families, and Norman Lamb have urged Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to order a public inquiry.

A police investigation has been launched into the deaths of patients at mental health centres run by North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Matthew Leahy (pictured with his mother Melanie) was found hanging at the Linden Centre in 2012

A police investigation has been launched into the deaths of patients at mental health centres run by North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Matthew Leahy (pictured with his mother Melanie) was found hanging at the Linden Centre in 2012

Two years ago a Care Quality Commission report found improvement was required and warned there were too many places at the Linden Centre where patients could hang themselves. 

Matthew Leahy, who suffered mental health problems following cannabis use, was not allowed visitors for the first seven days to 'let him settle on the ward'.

A week after admission a doctor contacted his mother, Melanie, to say he had been found dead in his room.

The expansion of the investigation was revealed by 5 News during the inquest into the death of Patrick Aspbury, who was an in-patient at the Linden Centre when he was killed by a train at Chelmsford railway station. 

The 23-year-old's death does not form part of the expanded criminal investigation, but the ongoing inquest has heard criticisms of the centre.

Describing what he called the 'sleepiness' of the ward at the inquest, Patrick's father, Peter, said: 'Patrick was bored and it was clear when he attended the ward.'

As well as deaths at the Linden Centre, near Chelmsford (pictured), police are now looking at deaths at eight other centres, it emerged today

As well as deaths at the Linden Centre, near Chelmsford (pictured), police are now looking at deaths at eight other centres, it

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