UK & World News
Kate Prank Call Nurse 'Commits Suicide'
A nurse duped by a prank phone call at the hospital treating the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge has died in a suspected suicide.
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, who has worked at the hospital for four years, was found dead at an address near King Edward VII's hospital in London on Friday morning.
The hospital confirmed she had been the victim of a hoax call in which two Australian DJs, pretending to be the Queen and Prince of Wales, phoned up about Kate.
Ms Saldanha, a mother of two, received the call and put it through to the ward where another nurse updated the pair on the Duchess, who was being treated for severe morning sickness.
Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said the nurse was from Bristol and has a son and a daughter. "The hospital had not suspended Ms Saldanha, nor disciplined her," he added.
Her family said in a statement: "We as a family are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha."
The owners of the radio station say the two DJs behind the call are "deeply shocked" by the tragedy. They have been dropped from their show until further notice amid a major backlash.
Kate, who is understood to be well under 12 weeks pregnant, was admitted to the hospital on Monday after falling ill over the weekend and released again on Thursday.
The Duchess and her husband, William, the Duke of Cambridge, said in a statement that they were "deeply saddened" by the nurse's death.
"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," they said.
A St James's Palace spokesman added: "At no point did the Palace complain to the hospital about the incident. On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times."
The King Edward VII Hospital said: "It is with very deep sadness that we 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 well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues.
"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."
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."
Lord Glenarthur, the hospital's chairman, said: "This is a tragic event. Jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. She will be greatly missed."
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, added: "This is tragic news, and the thoughts of all at the Royal College of Nursing go to the family of Jacintha Saldanha.
"It is deeply saddening that a simple human error due to a cruel hoax could lead to the death of a dedicated and caring member of the nursing profession."
Police were called to the address at 9.35am on Friday after a report about a woman found unconscious. Paramedics rushed to the property but she was pronounced dead at the scene.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Inquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances of the incident. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage."
Michael Christian and Mel Greig, DJs on the 2DayFM radio station, broadcast their call to the hospital on Wednesday morning.
Greig, impersonating the Queen, asked to speak to her "granddaughter Catherine" and managed to persuade Ms Saldanha to put her through to the ward where Kate was being treated.
The security breach was deeply embarrassing for the hospital, which is the medical institution of choice for the Royal Family.
The DJs apologised for the prank after an initial furore but later took to Twitter to brag of their success - calling it the "easiest prank call ever made".
Following Ms Saldanha's death, the radio station's owners said: "Southern Cross Austereo 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.
"Chief Executive Officer Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters, they are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances.
"SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy."
:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 08457 90 90 90 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
what do you think?
I hope this isnt a result of monarchists not taking a joke and putting pressure on the hospital who in turn looked for a scapegoat.it will be horrible if this comtributed to this receptionists suicide.R.I.P
100% with you on that one Shaun
I agree. As an NHS worker we are under so much pressure it is not surprising that something like this could put the nurse under pressure RIP x
This is absolutely terrible news - so sad for this lady and her family
This is dreadful news. Poor woman............words fail me. RIP
If fault lies with anyone, it's with the 2 morons that phoned up in the first place.....if they hadn't played the pointless "prank".....none of this would have happened. I hope they feel really clever now!
I totally agree, would like to hear what they have to say now. To all on here who thougt it was funny.do you think this is funny
I don't think we should seek to blame the djs. They would never have imagined that this would have happened- the tapes show how surprised they were to be put through and i think they didn't expect to be believed. I heard many criticisms of the hospital and the nursing staff and feel that theses criticism may well, sadly , have contributed to this tragedy. What a shame this has happened and that the poor lady couldn't have shaken this off. I don't think the royals themselves saw it as anything other than a prank.
Louisa, I think in this instance the consequences far outweigh the motives.
You need to get some sensitivity into your life, Louisa. These two imbeciles bragged about their behaviour on Twitter. I have never used Twitter - it's one of the biggest scourges of the modern age. I hope this nurse's family can recover from such an horrendous episode.
How unspeakably vicious were these two DJ's, the like of which the world could do without, to put unnecessary pressure on a highly professional lady in the name of ''humour''. She no doubt had to work at times under relentless pressure, diffuse difficult situations and reassure anxious relatives, and this was the final straw. I hope PM Julia Gillard, who is actually Welsh born, can find a way to make an example of these disgraceful wastes of oxygen.
Oh Stewgyn, i just don't see it that way. They were being lighthearted and it all went horribly wrong. I don't think that in their wildest dreams they thought they would actually be put through as it was such an amateurish prank. I am so sorry for this poor lady and so wish it hadn't happened. Who could have foreseen that this would have happened? None of us know what the consequences of our actions may be- if we could only look into the future. I would be angry with them if they had been truly vicious and meant to cause harm to someone, but all i feel is sadness and pity that such a sad event has occurred as the result of a prank which went wrong.
Your summing up is quite correct Louisa, don`t be put out because so many disagree with you.
Pranks have consequences, if you could ask the old lady tormented to death recently. I wonder if the loved ones of this poor nurse can be quite so understanding ?
Louisa pranks are a form of bullying. These 2 idiots are to blame, as well as other factors.
A young nurse is dead because two imbeciles thought it was funny to impersonate members of the Royal family. I hope some form of retribution is visited on them.
Not such a funny 'prank' now is it. Although there could have been other personal circumstances and perhaps this just tipped her over the edge? Regardless it's a great tragedy and I'm sure the royals will be devastated by this outcome.
:( I hope those DJs feel this for the rest of their lives. Immature and pointless prank.
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Well done you 2 aussie DJ's I bet your country is really proud of you. In all practical jokes or pranks somebody suffers .
Alison E. Blaber
What a terrible waste of life. RIP
How tragic that she should take her life due to the pressure she was under because 2 idiots thought it 'd be fun to pretend to be relatives
Shocking news Blame falls on the DJs, and the importance society puts on such people as the royals.
Just a few days ago, many people criticised the two morons who perpetrated this hoax and then went on air to brag about it. Almost as many others responded by saying that "it was only a harmless prank" and that "no harm was done". Every action we take usually has consequences, the trouble is, all too few people consider what the result of their actions might be. I wonder how they and the two so called DJs are feeling today ??..........
Yes Gordon, I'm probably sounding like a parrot now, but we've had an old lady tormented to the point of having a fatal heart attack, and now this. People need to learn that pranks have consequences ! And once again the behaviour of DJ's makes headline news for all the wrong reasons !
If it was anything to do with pressure from the Monarchy, and the hospital made an example, then maybe it wasn't suicide and could be another Princess Diana cover up!!!
Interesting theory and no doubt one that will brought up in the future.
I wonder if these djs lives become so unbearable that they also commit suicide? Hope not
poor woman, she was obviously so proud of her work, and to fall victim to a hoax like this is awful, she and her family are in my prayers, i hope the dj's are sacked for doing this.
Windows Live User
This is ever so sad. RIP Jacintha
Shocked I hope those two idiot dj's are ashamed of what they have done !!!! Also the press haven't helped by making such a big deal of it !! R.I.P