Australian DJs break silence over UK royal prank tragedy

Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:16pm EST
 

By Rob Taylor

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Two Australian radio announcers who made a prank call to a British hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife Kate broke a three-day silence on Monday to speak of their distress at the apparent suicide of the nurse who took their call.

The 2DayFM Sydney-based announcers, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, said the tragedy had left them "shattered, gutted, heartbroken".

Greig and fellow presenter and prank mastermind Christian have been in hiding since nurse Jacintha Saldanha's death and the subsequent social media outrage at their prank.

Their show, "Hot 30," has been terminated, the station's parent company, Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), said in a statement on Monday. SCA also announced a company-wide suspension of prank calls.

Greig told Australian television her first thought when told of Saldanha's death was for her family.

"Unfortunately I remember that moment very well, because I haven't stopped thinking about it since it happened," she said, amid tears, her voice quavering with emotion. "I remember my first question was 'was she a mother?'"

"I've wanted to just reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say sorry. I hope they're okay, I really do. I hope they get through this," said Greig when asked about Saldanha's two children, left with their father Ben Barboza.

Saldanha, 46, was found dead in staff accommodation near London's King Edward VII hospital on Friday after putting the hoax call through to a colleague who unwittingly disclosed details of Kate's morning sickness to 2DayFM's presenters.   Continued...

 
Sydney-based 2DayFM radio announcers Michael Christian (L) and Mel Greig leave a TV studio after giving an interview in Sydney December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Southern Cross Austereo/Handout