A nurse who committed suicide blamed herself after putting through a hoax call to the Duchess of Cambridge’s hospital ward, an inquest has heard.
JacinthaSaldanha’s body was found hanging in nursing accommodation three days after staff at London’s King Edward VII Hospital were tricked into revealing details of the Duchess’s stay.
The mother-of-two, 46, was the first nurse to answer the on-air call by Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who pretended to be the Queen and Prince Philip.
She passed them on to a second nurse on Kate Middleton’s ward, who unwittingly gave out information about her morning sickness.
“The hoax call was clearly pressing on her mind, as were difficulties she had experienced with a colleague,” said coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox.
She said the cause of death was hanging and it was “inconceivable” that MrsSaldanha would have given her permission for the call to be broadcast on radio.
Dr Wilcox did not criticise the DJs or radio station, but referred to four calls made to the hospital by production staff to gain Mrs Saldanha’s consent before the recording aired.
“If she did take these calls I find it inconceivable she would have consented, as a participant in the call, to its broadcast,” she said.
Ms Greig, who posed as the Queen during the prank call on Sydney’s 2Day FM, apologised to Mrs Saldanha’s family at the inquest at London’s High Court.
“I really just wanted to say I am truly sorry, I’ve wanted to say that for so long,” she told them.
“This tragedy will always stay with me and serve as a constant reminder.”
Speaking on behalf of Mrs Saldanha’s family, Leicester MP Keith Vaz said after the hearing: “Over the last two days, the family and the world have heard about her nobility, her dedication to her patients, her love of her job and her fantastic professionalism.
“The family of course accept the verdict of the coroner’s court today.
“It is an irony that four calls made in 115 seconds, which were the cause of so much mirth in Australia, could have deprived Benedict (Barboza, her widower) of his wife and Lisha and Janal of their beloved mother.
“These despicable and cruel actions, this hoax, has changed their lives forever.”
He said the family was taking advice over possible legal action.