Australian DJs left 'heartbroken' after nurse's death
The Australian radio DJs who made a prank call to a London hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge have said they were “shattered, gutted [and] heartbroken” at the apparent suicide of the nurse who took their call.
In television interviews, which were prerecorded and shown at the same time on two different stations, Mel Greig and Michael Christian appeared upset and shaken at the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha (46).
Ms Saldanha was found dead in staff accommodation near the King Edward VII hospital last Friday after putting the hoax call through to a colleague.
The second, unnamed, nurse disclosed details of the princess’s morning sickness to the 2DayFM presenters, who were pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.
Greig said the phone call “was just a prank; we didn’t expect to get through”.
Decision to broadcast
“It was just meant to be us being silly, getting hung up on,” she said. “We wanted to be hung up on with our silly voices and wanted a 20-second segment to air of us doing stupid voices.”
Christian said the final decision to broadcast the prank call was not made by him or Greig. “It’s not up to us to make that decision. It goes to other departments to make the call.”
He said he hoped Ms Saldanha’s family were getting “the love, the support, the care that they need”.
When asked how they found out that Ms Saldanha had died, Greig broke down and said it was “the worst phone call I’ve ever had in my life”.
“Unfortunately I remember that moment very well because I haven’t stopped thinking about it since it happened,” she said. “I remember my first question was, ‘was she a mother’?”
Ms Saldanha was married, with two teenage children.
Greig said neither she nor Christian are thinking about their careers.“I don’t want to think about that right now. There’s bigger, more pressing issues and that’s making sure that family gets through this tough time,” she said.
“Our careers aren’t important at the moment,” she added.
Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), which owns 2DayFM, said it was cancelling Greig and Christian’s Hot 30 show, and said they would not be returning to air “until further notice”.
SCA has also banned prank calls across its network of radio stations.
Australia’s communications minister Stephen Conroy said the broadcasting regulator may fast-track its complaints process in relation to the matter.