Hospital hoax DJs 'shattered' by tragedy
THE Australian DJs behind a hoax call to the hospital that treated a pregnant Duchess of Cambridge said they were "gutted, shattered, heartbroken" by the death of a nurse they had duped.
In emotional television interviews on Australian TV networks, presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian insisted their prank call to the King Edward VII's Hospital had "a tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected".
A tearful Greig, who was at times comforted by 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."
The 2Day FM hosts fooled nurse Jacintha Saldanha into believing they were the Queen and Prince of Wales and the hospital worker transferred them to a colleague who described Kate's condition in detail. Ms Saldanha, a 46-year-old mother of two, was found dead on Friday in what appeared to be a suspected suicide.
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The nurse's brother Naveen told the Daily Mail his sister was a devout Roman Catholic and would have been "devastated" by her unwitting role in the breach of medical confidentiality.
Her partner Benedict Barboza, 49, and their teenage son and daughter, aged 14 and 16, are being comforted by relatives and friends at their terrace home in Southmead, Bristol.
Labour MP Keith Vaz, who visited Ms Saldanha's family yesterday, said they were in "terrible distress" and urged the hospital to provide them with more support and hold an inquiry.
The hospital has established a memorial fund in the nurse's name to provide financial support for her family and made the first donation to the fund.
In another development Southern Cross Austereo, the parent company of 2Day FM, said a review of the incident had found the production team had made several attempts without success to discuss the prank call with the central London hospital.
But a spokeswoman for the King Edward VII's Hospital said: "Following the hoax call, the radio station did not speak to anyone in the hospital's senior management or anyone at the company that handles our media inquiries."
Prime Minister David Cameron described Ms Saldanha's death as "an absolute tragedy".
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.
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."