A MOTHER who set up a petition demanding a public inquiry into the death of her son has received backing from a national charity.

Melanie Leahy, of Tolleshunt Knights, has fought for an independent inquiry into the death of her son Matthew after he was found hanged at Linden Centre in Chelmsford in 2012.

Mrs Leahy has now set up a government petition which has more than 3,000 signatures.

She has received the backing of mental health charity SANE.

A spokesman for the charity said: “We’re supporting the campaign for a public inquiry into the death of Matthew Leahy.

“The 20-year-old died at a mental health centre in Essex, a place where he should have been safe.

“An inquest found his care was subject to ‘multiple failings’, and his family deserve answers.”

Matthew’s case has received a large amount of media coverage as it highlighted possible failings for mental health patients who use NHS services.

In a video message, Mrs Leahy said: “They’re failing our loved ones, they’re failing those patients who are in the system, they’re failing those who want to be in the system.

“It’s happening everywhere daily.

“They’re being ignored, they’re being discharged when they’re feeling suicidal. It needs to stop.”

The petition has received support from people across the globe, including Australia and Canada.

In January 2017 Essex Police launched a probe into the deaths of 25 patients at nine mental health units run by the former North Essex Partnership University Trust since 2009.

The investigation was led by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

It was confirmed the deaths “did not meet the evidential threshold for manslaughter” and the Health and Safety Executive would continue its investigation.

Since then, photos have emerged of supervisors at both the Linden Centre and other EPUT sites sleeping on the job.

Last week, Witham MP Priti Patel endorsed the campaign in a letter to Mrs Leahy.

“I fully sympathise with the hurt, pain and distress the families feel,” it read.

“I commend the steely determination of Melanie Leahy and all the other families who have been campaigning on the issue in tragic circumstances.

“Questions about the trust’s care of vulnerable patients remain unanswered and I support Mrs Leahy’s call for a public inquiry into this case.”

Mrs Leahy says she has also received endorsements from former care minister Norman Lamb and others.

The mental health charity SANE was established in 1986 to improve the quality of life for people affected by mental illness, following the overwhelming public response to a series of articles published in The Times entitled The Forgotten Illness.

Written by the charity’s founder and chief executive, Marjorie Wallace, the articles exposed the neglect of people suffering from mental illness.

SANE wants to raise public awareness and bring more effective professional treatment and compassionate care.

If the petition passes 10,000 signatures, the government will respond. If it hits 100,000 it will be debated in parliament.

For details visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions/255823.