Kate hoax call nurse found dead

Fri, Dec 7, 2012, 00:00

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been left “deeply saddened” after the nurse duped by hoax callers into revealing details about Kate’s health apparently took her own life.

Jacintha Saldanha was pronounced dead this morning at an address near the King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London where the pregnant Duchess had been treated for a severe form of morning sickness.

The nurse was the victim of a prank by two Australian radio DJs who impersonated the Queen and the Prince of Wales. She answered their call and, believing the 2Day FM presenters were members of the Royal Family, put them through to another nurse who described Kate’s condition in detail.

In a statement tonight, Ms Saldanha’s family said they were “deeply saddened” by the death and asked for privacy.

“We as a family are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha,” they said. “We would ask that the media respect our privacy at this difficult time.”

The company which runs the radio station said that, by mutual consent, the hosts would not be returning to their show until further notice.

In a statement Southern Cross Austereo said: “Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.”

St James’s Palace said: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha.

“Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII’s Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.”

The hospital said in a statement: “We can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha.

“Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII’s Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and a well-respected and popular member of staff with all her colleagues.

“We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital has been supporting her at this difficult time.”

Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse said: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much-loved and valued colleague.”

The two presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian from 2Day FM, remarked during their show how their efforts were the “easiest prank call ever made”, as they put on mock British accents they later described as “terrible”.

The presenters later apologised for their actions, as did their radio station.

Another nurse looking after Kate told the radio show of the Duchess: “She’s sleeping at the moment and she has had an uneventful night and sleep is good for her.

“She’s been given some fluids to rehydrate her because she was quite dehydrated when she came in but she’s stable at the moment.”