Hospital nurse in Kate Middleton radio prank found dead
Published Friday, December 7, 2012 10:43AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 7, 2012 6:52PM EST
A nurse who was involved in a crank call at the London hospital where the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was treated this week has been found dead in central London.
King Edward VII’s Hospital confirmed Friday that the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, had been caught up in a prank phone call made to the hospital earlier in the week.
Two Australian radio hosts impersonating Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles called the hospital and asked to be transferred to the ward where Kate was being treated for severe morning sickness.
They asked the nurse about the duchess’s condition while making clumsy jokes in the background.
Multiple media reports say that Saldanha was staffing the switchboard when the radio hosts made the call in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and was the one who transferred the call to the ward.
Though the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge never publicly commented on the prank, the royal couple issued a statement Friday to say they were "deeply saddened” to learn of Saldanha’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,” the St James's Palace statement said.
The DJ’s, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, apologized the day after the hoax, along with their radio station, 2DayFM, saying they had never expected that their call would be put through.
"We're very sorry if we've caused any issues,” they said.
On Friday, facing a fresh barrage of anger, both Greig and Christian deactivated their Twitter accounts. The radio station also issued a statement to say the hosts were “deeply shocked” by the death.
The station’s owner said it and the hosts had decided that the hosts “will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy.”
King Edward VII’s Hospital said Saldanha had worked at the hospital for more than four years and was “an excellent nurse, well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues.”
It said it had been supporting her through the difficult media storm following the hoax and was shocked by her death.