UK & World News
Royal Prank DJs: 'We Are Both Shattered'
The Australian DJs behind a prank call to the hospital where the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was being treated have spoken of their regret after one of the nurses they duped was later found dead in a suspected suicide.
In emotional interviews on Australian TV networks, presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian insisted that their prank call to the King Edward VII's Hospital in central London had "never meant" to get that far and they had expected staff to hang up on them.
The pair posed as the Queen and the Prince of Wales when they rang the hospital where Kate was being treated for acute morning sickness.
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha took the initial call and, believing the call to be genuine, put them through to another colleague who was duped into describing Kate's condition in detail.
A tearful Ms Greig, who was at times comforted by Mr Christian, told Today Tonight on Australia's Channel Seven: "There's nothing that can make me feel worse than what I feel right now.
"And for what I feel for the family. We're so sorry that this has happened to them."
Mr Christian said he was "gutted, shattered, heartbroken" by the nurse's death.
Mother of two Ms Saldanha, 46, was found dead on Friday in what appeared to be a suspected suicide.
Ms Greig said: "I remember my first question was 'Was she a mother?'.
"I have thought about this a million times in my head, that I just wanted to reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say sorry.
"I hope they are OK, I really do."
A sombre and downcast Mr Christian, added: "I just hope that they get the love, the support, the care that they need."
In a second interview on the Nine Network, the DJs said they had never expected their fake call would be put through to the Duchess's ward.
They said they expected it to last 30 seconds, get told off and have the phone hung up in their ear.
A distraught Ms Greig said: "Not for a second did we expect to speak to anyone. We expected to be hung up on."
The pair said their greatest concern now was for the family of Ms Saldanha.
Ms Greig said: "I wanted to just reach out to them and to give them a big hug and say sorry.
"Not a minute goes by that we don't think about the family and what they are going through, and the thought we may have played a part is gut-wrenching."
Mr Christian told Nine's A Current Affair programme: "We are shattered, heartbroken and our deepest sympathy goes to the family, friends and all those people affected.
"Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what's happened."
Ms Greig and Mr Christian, DJs on the station 2Day FM, pulled out of a third interview scheduled for The Project, on the Ten network, because they were unwell, according to a spokesman for the TV channel.
In a statement, the radio station's owner, Southern Cross Austero Media, said it had suspended advertising on 2Day FM until further notice, ended Ms Greig and Mr Christian's Hot 30 show, and suspended prank calls across the company.
The statement said attempts had been made to contact the hospital before the hoax was broadcast, adding that it believed no laws had been broken.
Britain's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told Sky News that the nurse's response to the prank call does not point to a widespread breach of procedure.
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what do you think?
I still find it hard to believe that anyone would commit suicide because they were on the receiving end of a hoax phone call.
Precisely, she only put through the call, its just a coincidence , people just get wound up by the media and jump to conclusions, usually self righteous people living in a grey bland world unable to have fun and constantly peering over their neighbours fences and unable to mind their own business.
On these pages here i found the mere mention of kate middleton in relation to this story seemed to get the thumbs down.yes very much agreed simon and edgar.
Well said edgar a bit of common sense at last
i sometimes wonder if the ratings are legitimate to be honest. they seem to serve the system and not the truth.
Surely its time to drop this story now so that the nurses family dont have to keep being reminded. Obviously our press want blood and wont move on
I agree Chris
I can not believe these djs are being held accountable for this woman's death,surely there were other problems in her life,I find it hard to believe any person would kill themselves over something so stupid,especially a mother of 2 children.
why not, immature idiots.
Agreed. They're scapegoats to appease the usual knee-jerk overreactions. Still no news on how the hospital acted towards her after the incident..
Andrea, do you know the autopsy report? Suicide has not yet been proven. If it were suicide do you know what was going on in her life, do you know her mental state prior top the call? You are blaming these DJs for the death of someone you know nothing about, you are so self righteous knee jerking and presumptuous it isn't true.
I got to agree with andrea that these phone pranks do seem immature.and i cant stand that penk bloke.seems like something you might do as a teenager.
We still have not heard anything from the other nurse who was also involved.im still wondering what was said to them by the hospital management or between themselves.cant imagine nothing was said.these djs werent ever to foresee how this would transpire..also didnt this nurse leave a suicide note.this will all, no doubt come to light at the inquest.
other nurse obviously coping with it all better.
Yes andrea but has she been told to say nothing.odd im thinking.
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This type of prank call happens daily on radio stations all around the world, the voices they used were nothing like the Queen and they were giggling and messing around so it was a little surprising that they were put through, the were clearly not trying to do anything other than get a few seconds on air before being cut off. If any private information was revealed, which from my hearing the clip it wasn't, then it was the second nurse that revealed it. The tragic suicide is more likely linked to the obsessive press coverage after the event than to the original prank.
i find pranks like this so pointless, half the time they not funny
The death of this nurse was not the DJs fault, its about time the blame mongers got off their back, they are just gossip hounds with nothing better to do.
Its an odd thing in human nature. Centurys ago we would go on witch hunts if something bad had occurred. nowadays it seems to be through the media and social networks.
Lisa Marie Williams
The poor woman had to of had other things going on in her life that led to her taking her life. It got nothing to to with the prank it could just of easily been becoz someone say spoke abruptly to her she was on the hospital switch and trust me someppl calling are quite rude. Just let her family grieve
Lisa. Every possibilty but in these situations there is usually something which tips them over the edge. This stunt may just have been that which puts the responsibility firmly at their door.
Dave.....it may have been a bill dropping on doorstep, an argument with a neighbour,a bad relationship anything, are they all to blame.? Life can be hard and not fair, there is no need to blame these DJs, if anything this irresponsible hounding is likely to cause more distress to them than was ever meted to that of the sadly departed nurse.
She is sorry, but he is not. He is making excuses and I am not convinced of his sincerity. A Dublin radio station used to air this type of stunt until one of their victims went ballistic and the radio station ended up explaining themselves to a High Court judge. The judge was not impressed and awarded substantial damages against the station. End of stunt for them. The point is that a radio station cannot know the life-circumstances of their victims and just occasionally this stunt can backfire spectacularly.
And he should not feel guilty either.
If his action contributed in any way then he is partly responsible. I got the impression from the interview that he is more sorry for himself than the nurse.
Nonsense Brian, she could have had an overdue bill that pushed her over the edge does that make the person or computer that issued the bill responsible for her own suicide if suicide is indeed was what it was.
Im wandering if the royal family should be in a dhs hospital at all.?
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If this was a team decision then may I suggest in future engage brain before operating mouth..I don't doubt that there was no malice intended but infantile behaviour has no place on radio.I'm allfor a laugh and a joke but think things through first.
This idea that their were other factors in her life that could have lead her to take her own life is rude. Indian Hindus from my experience are very hard working, sensitive and proud people. Some people are not designed for the butt of peoples jokes. She may have been the happiest person in the world before the phone call. This is a very sad story.
Sad story yes ali but to pin the blame on a prank that should have been harmless is nieve to say the least.
on this occasion have to disagree with you ali.
Who are we to say she had issues before the call.
On this one I have to disagree with you also Ali. It's kind of ludicrous to suggest one prank call was responsible for her apparent suicide. Even if she did have prior issue's I don't think passing on one prank call to another colleague would cause anyone to commit suicide. What we will never know is what happened to her after this all came out..
"We wanted to be hung up on with our silly voices and wanted a 20 second segment to air of us doing stupid voices". How old are these people? I suggest they get a job working in A & E at weekends and that would make them grow up.
He`d be an excellent politician, carefully saying all the right things, even managing to act a few pretendy sorrowful expressions. Yet the girl is really sorry and obviously devastated.
I don't think the whole blame can be put on these D.J's shoulders, after all, it was the radio station who decided to run it. It was very tragic what happen to Jacintha but I don't think the D.J's ever thought this could happen. I really feel for her family that are reminded of the tragic circumstances of their loved one's death every time with the media coverage.
Just a point, find it strange that the call was answered and dealt with by NHS staff, I'm led to believe that in cases where a " Royal " is hospitalized a police officer is present, on guard so to speak and they would normally take the call. ie: When this lady took the call it would have been passed to a police officer to verify if the caller was genuine. A very sad incident indeed, but I personally believe there were more underlying issues with this lady. Likewise we do not know to what extent she was chastised by her bossess although they say she wasnt. There are just some things we will never get to the bottom off. Sad for her family and everybody concerned.
Sorry don't mean to be be picky, it was a private hospital, so this hadnothing to do with the NHS....for once....
Sorry, I said NHS, when I should have said private hospital..
It will be interesting to find out whether she phoned her husband and family after this happened and what sort of reaction she got from them. Were they supportive or were they condemning of her? We also don`t know how the staff at the hospital reacted - they say she got support but can that be believed?
It is a tradegy, the DJ's did not expect an outcome like this as no one could have done, yes it was a stupid prank but who would have thought this would occur. They must feel terrible as a lot of people no doubt are doing. RIP lady.
Crocodile tears, much too late. People who make these prank calls have not the slightest feeling for the victims of them. They may think they are being so clever and so funny, I wonder how they would react if they were on the receiving end of a prank call. We as human beings seem to have forgotten how to be nice to each other. What a very sad world and what a very sad outcome.