Conner Sparrowhawk
Conner Sparrowhawk died whilst in the care of the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust in 2013Family photo

Police are investigating an abusive voicemail left for a mother whose son died while in the care of a mental health trust in which she was labelled a "vindictive cow". The voice message was left on the phone of Dr Sara Ryan who has been campaigning for changes at a mental health unit since her son died in 2013.

Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, drowned in a bath following an epileptic seizure at Slade House in Headington, Oxfordshire, whilst in the care of the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. An inquest ruled the teenager's death in October was preventable and that neglect contributed to his death.

Dr Ryan subsequently campaigned for Southern Health to deal with inadequacies in its service and on Friday 29 April, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued a report criticising the trust for "continuing to put patients at risk". Later that day Ryan says she was left an abusive message on her voicemail she alleges was someone claiming to work for Southern Health.

The message she says "I think you are a vindictive cow, on TV all the time, slating the NHS and Southern Health". Thames Valley Police have said they are investigating a report of a malicious communication.

The caller told Dr Ryan: "You know as much as anyone else knows that Southern Health only took over those units in Oxfordshire [in] the recent months before your son died. You know with your background it takes a while to make changes... and I think now... you want some attention, but you are vindictive and you are unpleasant and you are a nasty cow."

Sara Ryan
Dr Sara Ryan was left the abusive voicemail by someone saying she was from the Southern Health NHS Foundation TrustBBC screenshot

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said they were also investigating the claim and called the message "deeply concerning". In a statement Southern Health said: "We have been made aware of the phone message through social media, and the content is deeply concerning.

"The trust cannot condone such behaviour and we take matters like this extremely seriously. We urge anyone with any information to get in contact with us so a full internal investigation can take place."

Dr Ryan said according to the BBC: "Nobody should receive a call like that. The kids are distraught, [it's just] another kick in the teeth."