Chelmsford mum says her son ‘shouldn’t have been a lesson learned’ as inquest finds multiple mental health trust failings

The Essex mum has spoken out after a jury concluded that a failure of mental health services led to her son’s death in Chelmsford. Michele Borough said her son Jayden “shouldn’t have been a lesson learned” and that she now had to put up with life without him.

Jayden, 23, who had mental health difficulties including delusional thoughts and periods of psychosis, died on 23 October 2020 after being hit by a train in the Chelmsford area. He had previously been housed under mental health law at Linden Center in Broomfield – which is run by the University of Essex Partnership NHS Trust (EPUT) – but escaped on 23 October by following staff outside the building.

Jayden is fatally struck by a train hours after leaving the centre. Today the jury concluded that several issues in his care at the Linden Center contributed to his death, including the layout of the building, communication with staff, and poor awareness which resulted in delays in reporting his missing.

Read more:Poor mental health unit planning and ‘unsatisfactory’ communication led to the death of the Chelmsford man on the train line, the jury concluded.

Speaking outside Essex Coroner’s Court after the conclusion, Michele Borough said: “I lost my son, he lost his life at 23. He should still be here, he should be able to follow his dreams. He was talented. And beautiful, and I still have a piano at home.”

“I wish he was still playing the piano and living his life and his dreams, and that was taken away from him by these fatal mistakes. And they say ‘lessons learned, lessons learned’ – my son shouldn’t have learned the lesson. I just feel like nothing changes, and I think until the proceedings begin And the consequences, maybe things will start to change.

“But as long as they continue to get away with it, being able to make the same mistakes over and over again — they can change doors, they can change security, but until the consequences are taken, I think they’ll continue to do what they want to do, I’m sad to say.

Jayden Borough suffered a decline in his mental health and had to be split into a secure unit – but he managed to escape and was unfortunately hit by a train

“I don’t want any other family to go through what I went through, and I will continue to go through. My son died, and he shouldn’t have died. He was supposed to be in the safe place and he wasn’t safe.

“The other thing that was really hard was sitting and listening to these witnesses discuss my son and keep hearing the words ‘we should have, we could have,’ when if they had done the things they were supposed to do, my son would still have been alive.” Today. You should have and you could have not good enough.”

Since then, EPUT CEO Paul Scott has apologized to Jayden’s family for the failures of his care, and said swift action was taken after his death to improve security at the Linden Center. Essex Police, who conducted the search for Jaden after his escape, said they had “taken into consideration the points raised” by the investigation.

Jayden’s family was supported in the coroner’s court for the finding by campaigners who have called for answers from Essex Mental Health Services. Jayden’s investigation is the latest in a long line of patient deaths under the trust’s care – including in the past few months Southend teenager Chris Nota, and Colchester mum Michelle Morton.

Melanie Leahy and other activists outside Essex Coroner's Court on November 25, 2022
Melanie Leahy and other activists outside Essex Coroner’s Court on November 25, 2022

Melanie Leahy, who lost her son Matthew while he was in the care of EPUT in 2012, was one of the activists in court. It is calling for a statutory public inquiry into Essex mental health services. Don’t send a message saying ‘we’re learning lessons’ and that ‘we spent £3.4m on this, this and the other,’ she said. Get your people off their asses, wake them up, get them to do their jobs and get them to work. They are responsible for them when they don’t.”

EPUT CEO Paul Scott said: “We continue to sympathize with Jayden’s family, friends and loved ones following their loss. I am sorry for the failures in the care provided to Jayden.”

“Immediate action was taken to improve security at the Linden Center and the Trust has made a significant investment in safety and technology improvements across all mental health inpatient wards. We are committed to continuous improvement to deliver the best possible care to those who need us most when they need us most.”

Campaigners are calling for a statutory public inquiry into Essex Mental Health Services outside the Coroner's Court
Campaigners are calling for a statutory public inquiry into Essex Mental Health Services outside the Coroner’s Court

An Essex Police spokesperson said: “We continue to send our deepest condolences to Jaden Borough’s family at this difficult time. Our officers gave evidence at Coroner’s Court during the inquest this week.

“We have taken the points made during the investigation into consideration and continue to ensure that we are trained to assist people at risk. This includes ensuring that our policies and procedures are best aligned with national practice. Our officers are trained to classify missing persons at a low risk, medium risk and high risk level. applied to Jayden Borough as a missing person, which was a median determined based on the information provided to the inspector in charge at the time.”

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