Melanie’s story – A Mothers Call For A Public Inquiry Into Sons Death

Melanie’s story – A Mothers Call For A Public Inquiry Into Sons Death

Yesterday Anna Kennedy OBE regular Autism contributor for the Sky TV ‘The Chrissy B’ show the only Mental Health and Well being show on television interviewed Melanie Leahy.

This programme will be aired within the next few weeks.


7 days after being taken to a place of safety * by Essex Police, my son was dead. As a mother struggling to know what was best for Matthew, I felt relief that he was finally in a place of safety and under professional care.

I was advised not to visit for the first week and allow him to settle on the ward.

The next time I got see my son, he was a crime scene on a hospital trolley.

When I lent down to kiss him, I was told, ‘don’t touch, he’s a crime scene’.

An Article Jury led Coroner’s Inquest in Jan 2015 could not conclude Suicide.

The verdict was left OPEN.

A statement read out to the court said: ‘Matthew Leahy had been subjected to a series of multiple failings and missed opportunities over a long period of time.’

Evidence has been destroyed.

Papers falsified.

Staff not traceable.

Currently there is an ongoing Health and Safety Investigation. I know I’ve not been given the full picture into what happened to my son on the day he died.

He was found with four possible five needle wounds in his groin, GHB (the date rape drug) in his blood stream.

Blood in his stomach and bruises above his ankles. Matthew had called home four days before he died begging to come home, saying “I’m in hell in here.

Please help me. I’m being drugged and raped on the ward.

We told him to call the police. He did exactly that. Before the police arrived, staff had medicated our son some more.

The police deemed him of no capacity to be examined.

We have later discovered no mental capacity assessment was ever done. Police failed to take any swabs, they failed to seize any clothing.

I have been fighting for the last seven years, since Matthew died, for answers.

Just recently The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman produced a report and Sir Norman Lamb MP has backed my call for an urgent Public Inquiry. Currently Government is denying this. There is so much delay and people continue to die.

Melanie shared with Anna that she is looking for support for her petition  running to have her son’s case discussed in Parliament. It has already exceeded the 10000 needed for a response from Government, but needs 100000 to be considered for debate. Melanie cannot do this alone she has asked for Anna’s support and cannot do this alone. Please help Melanie and click on the link and sign up:

Melanie will be joining Anna discussing her call for a Public Inquiry into Matthews unnecessary death on 15th October 2019 live at 1pm on Anna’s weekly Women’s Radio Station programme.

Melanie shared:

‘I am extremely grateful to Anna for giving me this opportunity to raise awareness of my campaign and hope that it will help progress my quest for answers, accountability and change for others. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the 27000 plus supporters of my campaign, to date.‘I fight this fight for all those failed to date and all your loved ones needing safe, compassionate care now and in the future.’

Please tune in

Ginny Bowbrick – Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio

Ginny Bowbrick – Anna’s guest on Women’s Radio

Ginny Bowbrick has been a doctor for thirty years and is a consultant vascular surgeon at Medway Maritime Hospital, Kent. She has three sons aged 15, 12 and 12 and the twins are autistic with severe learning disabilities.

Alongside her medical career, her other professional interests are in medical education of junior doctors and in promoting understanding of autism and learning disabilities amongst healthcare professionals. She is currently embedding a campaign called the “Not Less Campaign” in her own Trust with their support to promote understanding of autism and learning disabilities which she hopes will be taken up by other Trusts in due course.

There is a wide body of evidence that people with autism and learning disabilities are not currently treated equally in care settings including acute hospitals. This leads to poorer care and poorer outcomes.

The CIPOLD report (Confidential Inquiry into Premature Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities) in 2013 found that men with learning disabilities died on average 13 years sooner than the general population and for women this was 20 years sooner. Subsequent reports have shown little improvement.

Following the Annual report for LeDeR (Learning Disabilities Mortality Review) 2016/2017, mandatory e-learning is to be introduced. However, there is no visible campaign in existence to reassure patients and their families that awareness has been raised.

The “Not Less Campaign” is an opportunity to change this by dispelling myths, removing stereotypes and developing understanding by asking NHS staff to pledge equality in care, to not make assumptions about learning disability and autistic patients and to listen to them and their families.

This campaign will enable the staff at Medway to feel better equipped and empowered to deliver the best of care for people with autism and learning disabilities. A badge is being developed for staff to wear which will be a visible symbol to patients and their families. She has already presented her proposal to her Chief Executive, Medical Director and consultant colleagues who offered unanimous support. She has been using feedback from

her colleagues following her presentation and from the Autistic community on Twitter on what they want healthcare professionals to know, to help create the information packs and logo to be used. The Campaign will be formally launched this Autumn at Medway Maritime Hospital. For more information or to message her please follow @CampaignPiece on Twitter.

Click here to listen to Ginnys radio interview every day until Monday at 1pm.

British Airways inspired by our Autism Hero Rebecca Taylor’s Airport Journey Cards!

British Airways inspired by our Autism Hero Rebecca Taylor’s Airport Journey Cards!

Anna Kennedy Online are so proud of Rebecca for sharing her journey with us and support this incredible lady all the way!

Rebecca Taylor won the Parent/Carer Award a the Autism Hero Awards in 2018. Rebecca was been nominated by Joan Whittle, Emma Taylor and Thomas Lopeman for this award, for her all round enthusiasm and passion to helping parents, carers and young people living in her area.

She was the founder of the junior autism group which she created to support individuals to have a safe contained area where children can play, parents can engage with each other and receive information services.

Rebecca has a son with autism called Joshua and everything she has achieved is because of him, she is frequently invited to clubs and groups to speak about Joshua and their journey. Rebecca was recently invited to speak in Poland at an international conference.

It’s quite clear Rebecca has a lot of people that are so thankful to her from her numerous nominations and she has inspired many and continues being a hero and here is what she did next…

British Airways launches a dedicated support team for customers with additional accessibility needs as part of its £6.5bn investment programme

  • Airline announces next phase of multi-million pounds investment for customers requiring additional assistance with introduction of 20-strong team of accessibility experts
  • Team will assist more than half a million customers with disabilities who fly each year – their enquiries were formerly handled by airline’s general customer service team
  • New direct phone line now connects customers straight to specialist team

Part of British Airways’ £6.5bn investment for customers and follows the launch earlier this year of airline’s new staff training programme to improve assistance for customers with hidden and visible disabilities. In the latest phase of its £6.5bn investment for customers, British Airways has launched a dedicated customer care team for travellers who require additional assistance to ensure every journey they take with the airline is as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

The hand-picked team of customer service professionals received specialist training* to enable them to answer any questions customers have when they get in touch via phone or email and will help them understand what to expect during their journey. They will also be able to help:

  • Make new flight, hotel and car hire bookings
  • Arrange bespoke assistance for customers
  • Pre-book seating
  • Inform airport staff and cabin crew about specific requirements
  • Provide information and support to empower more customers to have the confidence to fly

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience said: “I am really excited about the possibilities the new team will open up for the 50,000 customers requiring additional assistance who travel with us each month. Every member of the team is incredibly passionate about helping our customers and enabling them to relax and enjoy British Airways’ unique service.”

In April, British Airways became the first and only airline to be awarded the renowned Autism Friendly Award by the National Autistic Society and has now become the first airline to produce a Visual Guide to Flying to help customers prepare for their flight. The guide, which can be found on the airline’s website, is endorsed by the National Autistic Society and explains the sights, sounds, smells and experiences customers may encounter during their journey.

Earlier this year British Airways began its largest ever accessibility staff training programme for almost 30,000 customer-facing colleagues. Since the introduction of the Beyond Accessibility Programme in January, the carrier has seen a significant increase in customer satisfaction from travellers who require additional assistance.

Aiming to become the airline of choice for customers with both hidden and visible disabilities, British Airways has worked with disability specialists to produce materials for the new programme. They include a new library of short videos providing information about different types of hidden disabilities and practical advice on how to support customers at each stage of their journey, and a new training video to help staff support and confidently interact with customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Victoria Williams, Founder of terptree, which produced the video said: “We are delighted to have worked with British Airways to help its employees understand how to support their deaf customers. This has included collaborating with a team of professional deaf filmmakers who produced, directed and shot a training film to teach staff simple British Sign Language.”

Announcing the Autism Hero finalists 2019!!!

Announcing the Autism Hero finalists 2019!!!

Anna Kennedy Online Charity and Judging panel are proud to announce the finalists for the Autism Hero Awards 2019, congratulations!

Our judges had a really tough time selecting the finalists this year, as so many people give so much time to help the lives of others. It was hard to choose finalists because they are all so deserving.

The Autism Community therefore has so much to give to society of large and they are all winners!

Special message from Dr Anna Kennedy OBE:
“Together with my team we want to celebrate the unforgotten heroes that go the extra mile and make life changing steps that impact and improve the quality of life for autistic individuals and the lives of their families.There will also be a Special Recognition Award and Charity Volunteer of the Year which will be announced on the night. I look forward to meeting you and congratulations for being a finalist”

Outstanding community Award

Melanie Timberlake

Clair Prosser

Jane Lord

Online Social Award

Freddie Smith

Nikki Robertson

Laura Price

Young Person of the Year Award

Morgan Smith

Jermaine Cartwright 

Jayden Worthington

Parent / Carer Award

Kenny Elvin

Lisa Monaghan

Louise Quinn-Flipping

Sibling of the Year Award

Owen Elvin

Alice Partington

Seray Marius

Outstanding Education Award

Agata Benson

Joel Mellor

Donna Swan

Deborah Shepherd

Lifetime Award

Mark Morton

Tanya Phillips

Becky Farmer

Creative Arts and Media Award

Noah Loo

Siddharth Gadiyar

Leading Business Award

Tom Cliffe

Ali Knowles

Portland College

Richard Fetherston

Personal Achievement Award

Kelly Waite

Charlotte Banfield

Martin Hunter

People’s Autism Hero Award

Richard Smith

Hazel Lim

Louise Kirby

Entrepreneurial Award

Rebecca Taylor

Richard Smith

The celebration will be taking place at the prestigious Chelsea Harbour Hotel, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 0XG. Please click here for details.

The evening will commence at 6pm with a red-carpet welcome drink on arrival, a delicious three-course meal, DJ, entertainment. Carriages at 12.30. Click here to buy your tickets!

All proceeds for the evening will be donated to the Anna Kennedy Online charity to continue its dynamic work in raising Autism awareness within society.

Check out our September newsletter!

Check out our September newsletter!

As a small charity, we all work tirelessly and have had a great Summer, we are now organising and planning events , organising existing projects and already planning dates and projects for 2022!

This edition covers this Summer’s activities that took place with the Charity football match. We share details of the judging day that took place for the Autism Hero Awards. Keeping you up to date with details of the latest news and developments !!!

We are excited about the run up to the AGT Roadshow which is taking place on 12th October in Ruislip!  Auditions are open for Autism’s Got Talent for our main London show in 2020.

There are some awesome announcements to be shared in due course, so watch this space!

A date for your diaries— our annual AKO Autism Expo booked for 28th March 2020, more to follow.

Would you like to write an article for us?  Or considered to be a guest on Women’s Radio live show hosted by Anna?

Please email for details.

Meanwhile click here to download our latest Newsletter!

Month: September 2019