Linda and Robert Wade are fighting for “justice” for their son (Image: Ricci Fothergill/RMC)
Brave family members spoke in court of the heartbreaking impact of losing their loved ones
A dad has said every time he relives his son’s death a part of his soul dies, as the failings that contributed to his and 10 other people’s death were revealed.
Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT) has been fined for its repeated failings to minimise the risks that led to the deaths of 11 vulnerable mental health patients.
A number of relatives and friends speaking on behalf of relatives of the 11 people who died under the trust bravely stood in front of the court to share the horrific and heartbreaking impact of losing their loved ones.
Robert Wade, father to 30-year-old Richard Wade, who died in May 2015 – two months after the investigation’s timescale – spoke in court to read his victim’s personal statement.
He told the court how “just 12 short hours” after his son was admitted to the Linden Centre in Chelmsford, he would be “lost to us forever”.
Mr Wade said how he would wake up with “chest clutching anxiety” after his beloved son’s death and how every time he must relive this death “a little part of my soul dies”.
Before Richard’s death, Mr Wade said how he had been ambitious and looked to forward to pushing forward with his career – however his son’s sudden death made his ambition die.
“Six months off work and I had a controlled return from work for six months, all I could do was sit at work all day and cry, forcing myself to return to work the next day to repeat and suffer and despair,” he said.
He added: “This has been an isolating experience. Every day, language cannot fully express the depth of feeling., It breaks my heart to watch my wife struggle with Richard’s loss and thought of my remaining son.
“He no longer has a future”
Richard’s mother, Linda Wade, also spoke to the court, saying: “He no longer has a future, ours is changed forever.
“How did it happen? I believe he should have been safe and in the care of professionals.
“I have been in shock and disbelief for a long time and each day to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.”
Reading her victim impact statement to the court, Lisa Morris, mother of Ben Morris, who died at the Linden Centre at 20-years-old, said she was eventually told about her son’s death in the morning – after trying to ring him.
After being told to ring back and forth between the centre and police station with no answers, she said she had a horrific feeling he was dead.
“I actually said to my partner, Ben is dead, I can feel it,” she said.
“I remember him saying something like ‘Don’t be so stupid, he’s in hospital’. But I just knew it.
“I howled like an injured animal”
When two police officers arrived at Ms Morris’ door, she said she felt paralysed.
“The policeman said my son had been found hanging in his bedroom at 9pm the night before. It was like something shot me to the floor and I howled like an injured animal,” she said.
I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe, it was like I was being suffocated alive.”
Ms Morris then had to inform her son and daughter that their brother had died and then tell Ben’s two-and-a-half-year-old daughter her daddy had died.
She said: “How? Why, how? How has this been allowed to happen?
“I spoke to the ward half an hour before they found him lifeless they told me they were watching him because he was distressed and he wanted to be discharged and he wanted to discharge himself.
“They told me they were waiting for a doctor to come out to discharge him – so how could someone lose their life when they are being watched?”
Ms Morris added: “When Ben died, I had to learn to live life all over again at the age of 38.”
“I live now purely for my other two children if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would be here anymore.”
The mother said how she has been affected by severe sleep deprivation, anxiety and grief and said how her faith in “all authorities has been shattered”.
“My only son, my baby boy, my child, lying dead”
Melanie Leahy, mother of 20-year-old Matthew Leahy, who died in the Linden Centre in November 2012, has spent the last eight years fighting for a statutory public inquiry.
Her beloved son had been found hanging in his hospital room seven days after admission.
She said: “There are no words to relate the devastation and these feelings that hit me when I remember the call from the doctor that Matthew had been found hanging and it doesn’t look good.
“We also had to see my son shortly after his death lying on a hospital trolley with his eyes open but no longer seeing. My only son, my baby boy, my child, lying dead.
“My instinct as a mother was to gather him up in my arms make him safe and give him my love.”https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.essexlive.news%2Fnews%2Fessex-news%2Feput-deaths-dad-says-every-5543259&cre=bottom&cip=45&view=web
Ms Leahy added: “Imagine your child in hospital, you place your trust in professionals, listen when they told you you have to stay away when your only child is begging you to help him – to protect him, you supress every instinct as a mother and continue to trust the professionals.
“I wake up every morning and feel guilty for listening to those who I thought knew better, guilty for not questioning those who I thought knew better and guilty that I thought they who knew better would do everything they could to help him.”
Ms Leahy described how she is plagued by the “appalling lack of care” and “litany of errors and cover-ups”.
She added how she thinks of the man her son would have become and the children he might have had, and how every celebration is marked by his absence – and the “family photo album that comes to a premature and unnecessary end”.
Judge Cavanagh read to the court a list of the 11 individuals who lost their lives, before saying: “Each of the victim impact statements was moving, often heartbreakingly so, and dignified.
They were delivered with great courage,” he said. “In each case the personality and positive qualities of the loved one shone out, and the pain and anguish suffered by the family left behind was starkly revealed.
“There is no doubt that each of the persons who died was greatly loved and valued by their family.
“They brought a lot of joy to those around them and they should not be defined or remembered entirely by the way they died.”
Credit Essex Live