An NHS trust said it was “saved” from scrutiny over the death of a care home resident because of the death of former Monty Python star Terry Jones.
In an email, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) cited coverage of the case this week and claimed it had “got away with it again”.
The email referred to Doreen Livermore, 89, who died after she was attacked by a fellow resident with dementia.
The trust has been branded “cynical” by the victim’s son.
Mrs Livermore’s case was reported on Wednesday – the same day the death of Monty Python founder Terry Jones was announced – following a review by Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board.
The panel questioned whether the care home, Amberley Hall, in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, had the ability to safely manage the violent man, known as Mr Z.
Mrs Livermore suffered a broken hip and a head injury in the attack in December 2017 and died the following January.
The board criticised a number of organisations in the case, including the mental health trust’s dementia intensive support team for its dealings with Mr Z prior to the attack.
On Thursday, in an email seen by the BBC, the trust’s communications manager told two colleagues, “We seem to have got away (again) with the Adult Safeguarding Review story.”
It added: “I think we may have been saved by the death of Terry Jones.”
He said there was “nothing” in the East Anglian Daily Times, and said coverage of the case by BBC Look East and BBC News online did not name NSFT.
He claimed it was “not on Radio Norfolk at all” – when it had reported the case and NSFT’s involvement – and said Look East ran the story as its lead but “yet again, though, we emerged virtually unscathed”.
Full disclosure wanted
Reacting to the email, Mr Livermore said he questioned why NSFT was so keen to keep out of the news.
“We were absolutely shocked to see that this was the culture within the trust,” he added.
“It’s quite remarkable that sort of thing is going on when their job is to look after people.
“We get the usual trust response that ‘we take it seriously’. Now, when we see this, we just think they couldn’t care less.”
He said he wanted full disclosure of communications as he had believed throughout that all agencies were reluctant to provide details.
NSFT, which is still in special measures, had been branded the worst-performing mental health trust in England after it was rated “inadequate” three times by the CQC in recent years.
Its chief executive Jonathan Warren said: “We take this very seriously and will be contacting the family to give them our sincere apologies and offer them our support.”