POLICE have launched further enquiries into a number of deaths at a mental health facility after new allegations emerged.

Essex Police has begun conducting initial investigations into deaths which occurred at the Linden Centre in Chelmsford since 2000.

The work comes after allegations relating to the death of Matthew Leahy at the centre on November 15, 2012, emerged.

Matthew, 20, was found hanging in his room. An inquest into his death found there had been ‘multiple failings’ at the centre.

The five-day inquest heard observation slots were missed, the ward was short-staffed and no care plan was put in place for Mr Leahy after he was sectioned on November 7.

His mother Melanie, of Tolleshunt Knights, has fought for an independent enquiry into his death and improvements to safeguarding measures at the centre to prevent further deaths.

A Care Quality Commission report in 2015 found improvement was required and said there were too many places where patients could hang themselves.

Ms Leahy said she welcomed the news further inquiries were taking place.

She said: “I have worked tirelessly to collect evidence going back to 2001, which proves the trust knew about the ligature points on the ward.

“That, as proved by the Care Quality Commission inspection in 2015, the wards were not up to standard required to ensure patient safety."

An Essex Police spokesman said: “Essex Police is conducting initial enquiries into a number of deaths which have occurred at the Linden Centre since 2000. This work follows further allegations surrounding the death of Matthew Leahy at the facility in Chelmsford on November 15, 2012.

“We would not put specific links to specific deaths, the research phase will look at the circumstances of a number and then identify those that may have a link due to the circumstances of how the individuals died.”

A spokesman for the Essex Partnership Trust, which runs the Linden Centre, said: “The trust will cooperate with any police inquiries.”