DJ apologizes to family of British nurse who killed self after 'royal' prank call

Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:00pm EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - An Australian DJ who hoaxed a London hospital treating Prince William's wife Kate made an emotional apology on Friday to the family of the nurse who killed herself days after she answered the prank call.

Indian-born Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found hanging in December 2012, three days after she answered the call from DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian in which they had pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and William's father, Prince Charles.

Saldanha put the call through to another nurse who disclosed details of Kate's condition during treatment for acute morning sickness she was suffering in the early stages of pregnancy with son Prince George, leading to headlines around the world.

At the inquest into her death, Coroner Fiona Wilcox said the hoax was "clearly pressing on her mind" when Saldanha stunned family, friends and colleagues by committing suicide in her hospital lodgings.

Greig voluntarily flew over from Australia to attend the inquest at London's Royal Courts of Justice, and the coroner allowed her to make a statement after the court ruled Saldanha took her own life.

"I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I have wanted to say this to you for so long," a tearful Greig said directly to Saldanha's husband and two children.

"This tragedy is always going to stay with me," she added, weeping as she returned to her seat near the family.

The hoax call was made to the Edward VII hospital at about 5:30 a.m. London time when Saldanha, in her role as night sister, was the most senior figure in the hospital and so dealt with any external calls.   Continued...

Australian DJ Mel Greig leaves the High Court in London September 12, 2014.  REUTERS/Daniel Leal-Olivas