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Police to update families on probe into 25 mental health unit deaths

PUBLISHED: 07:56 11 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:52 11 October 2018

Melanie Leahy with son Matt Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Melanie Leahy with son Matt Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

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Relatives of patients who died at mental health units in Essex will be updated on a police probe into 25 deaths in November, it has emerged.

Matthew Leahy. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDMatthew Leahy. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Senior detectives are expected to deliver the outcome of an inquiry into up to 25 deaths at mental health facilities across Essex at a meeting next month.

The investigation, led by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, was launched in January 2017 and is understood to be looking into deaths reported from 2000 and onwards.

“We have been carrying out an investigation into the circumstances of a number of patient deaths involving those in the care of the North Essex Partnership University Trust (now known as the Essex Partnership University Trust or EPUT) since January 2017,” police chiefs told this newspaper.

“Today, we have written to the families of the individuals concerned to invite them to a meeting to update them on the outcome of our investigation.

Matthew Leahy, who was found at the Linden Centre in Essex back in 2012 Picture: CONTRIBUTEDMatthew Leahy, who was found at the Linden Centre in Essex back in 2012 Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“We will not be commenting any further until after that meeting has taken place.”

It is understood seven patients died at the Linden Centre in Chelmsford, where Melanie Leahy’s son Matthew was found hanged in 2012.

An inquest into the 20-year-old’s death found he had been subjected to a series of failings and missed opportunities.

Mrs Leahy has campaigned for years for the investigation – having taken her son’s case and those of other families to various watchdogs, ombudsmen, and the Health and Safety Executive.

Last year, it emerged the force was launching a probe into nine separate establishments – including mental health units – involved in the care of 25 patients since 2000.

It is understood EPUT will not be attending next month’s meeting.

“Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust is a new trust,” a spokesman said.

“It took over provision of local mental health and community health services from two former trusts in April 2017, one of which was North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (NEP).

“We have co-operated fully with the police investigation into a number of patient deaths under the care of the former NEP.

“Until the outcome of the investigation is known we are unable to comment further.”

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