A PETITION set up by the mother of a man who died in a mental health unit in 2012 has gained more than 4,000 signatures in just over a week.

Matthew Leahy was found hanged at the Linden Centre, Chelmsford, in 2012 and a subsequent inquest found there had been multiple failings.

Now, mum Melanie, who lives in the Maldon area, is calling for a “radical overhaul” of Britain’s mental health system and a public inquiry into the death of her son Matthew, who was 20 years old at the time.

Mrs Leahy is promoting the petition online, including via a Facebook group called ‘Justice for Matthew Leahy Failed by the State,’ which currently has over 1,800 followers.

“The support and messages I’ve had have been absolutely amazing,” Mrs Leahy said.

“It’s coming from Australia, Canada and so on. The community is massive. Over 110,000 people saw the post with his photos and my Facebook is crashed at the moment. I think I could have a team of workers here.

“What we are doing isn’t going to bring Matthew back but it could help other people.”

“It could have happened to anyone.”

In January 2017, Essex Police launched an investigation into the deaths of up to 25 people at nine sites across North Essex Partnership University Trust.

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

But the case was dropped in late-2018, with authorities concluding there were no grounds for corporate manslaughter charges.

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

Last week, MP Priti Patel endorsed the campaign in a letter to Mrs Leahy dated 23 May.

“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, mental health charity SANE, and others.

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

To support Melanie's petition, click here.