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Rediff.com  » News » Indian-origin nurse in hoax call found hanging: UK media

Indian-origin nurse in hoax call found hanging: UK media

December 12, 2012 19:26 IST
An Indian-origin nurse, who died in a suspected suicide after being duped by two Australian DJs' prank call to a hospital treating a pregnant Kate Middleton, was found hanging, British media said on Wednesday, a day before the release of the result of an autopsy on her.

Forty-six-year-old Jacintha Saldanha, a mother-of-two who was staying in a block of nurses' flats, was found hanged on Friday last at her staff accommodation, three days after being fooled by the prank call during Kate's stay at the King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone, Central London, the media said.

The nurse's husband, Benedict Barboza, desperately tried to track her down in the hours before her suspected suicide.

According to Daily Mirror, Barboza had not heard from his wife for two days so he phoned one of her friends to check on her. It quoted a family source as saying that the pal called at Saldanha's official accommodation at around 9.30pm on Thursday.

But 49-year-old Benedict did not hear anything back from the friend, who was one of Saldanha's fellow nurses, and his wife was found dead at 9.25am the next day, the source said. It is understood the family is making arrangements to return Saldanha's body to her native India, the report said, adding a private memorial service is expected to be held later this week.

In its report, Sky News said, "Initial official statements suggested that she (Saldanha) was alive but unconscious when she was discovered, however it is now understood she was found dead."

The death is not being treated as suspicious. The results of the post-mortem examination are not yet known, and an inquest is due to be opened and adjourned tomorrow, the report said.

The metropolitan police, meanwhile, said the result of the autopsy on Saldanha will be released on Thursday.

The cause of Saldanha's death will not be released until a Westminster Coroner's Court hearing on Thursday, the Scotland Yard said.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, who met Saldanha's husband and two children, said that the nurse had left a note for her family, which believes there are "unexplained" circumstances behind her death.

Without revealing the contents of the note, Vaz said, "What the family needs are the full facts. There are unexplained circumstances. The family wants to know everything."

Mel Greig and Michael Christian, the two DJs at Sydney's 2Day FM radio station, had called the hospital, impersonating the Queen and Prince Charles.

Saldanha, who took the call, transferred it to the ward where Kate was being treated and a second nurse then divulged details of her condition.

Australia's The Age daily quoted a source at 2Day FM station as saying that the two DJs had been trained "not to air any prank calls without permission" and were now "playing dumb"

All presenters, producers and content managers were compelled to undergo "decency and standards" training every six months, in compliance with a ruling from the industry watchdog, it said.

"I find it hard to believe that if you scored the scoop of the year in entertainment radio, you'd be so flippant as to not be aware of the approval process. You'd be asking questions every step of the way because you'd be trying to get it approved as quickly as possible. You're hardly going to sit back and wait," the source was quoted as saying.

"These two presenters are broadcast professionals. They can't play dumb now."
H S Rao and Natasha Chaku