Nurse who took prank call about royal Kate found dead

Fri Dec 7, 2012 4:04pm EST
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By Tim Castle

LONDON (Reuters) - A nurse who answered a prank call at the London hospital that was treating Prince William's pregnant wife Kate for morning sickness has been found dead, the hospital said on Friday, in a suspected suicide.

The death comes days after the King Edward VII hospital apologized for being duped by an Australian radio station and relaying details about Kate's condition which made headlines around the globe.

"It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha," John Lofthouse, the King Edward's chief executive told reporters outside the central London hospital.

"We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time."

Police said they had been called at 9:35 a.m. (4:35 a.m. EDT) about a woman found unconscious at an address near the hospital. The woman was pronounced dead after ambulance staff arrived.

Police said the death was being treated as unexplained but they we're not looking for anyone else, indicating the nurse had taken her own life.

William and Kate, who left the hospital on Thursday, said they were "deeply saddened" by the death of the nurse, who was married with two children.

"Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time," a statement from William's office said.   Continued...

A private ambulance is loaded with a body at the block of flats where the nurse Jacintha Saldanha lived near the King Edward VII Hospital in central London on December 7, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris