DJs 'gutted' by hoax call nurse's death

Published Monday, 10 December 2012
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The Australian DJs who made a hoax call to the hospital which was treating the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge have spoken out about the suspected suicide of the nurse who answered the phone.

DJs 'gutted' by hoax call nurse's death
Australian DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig. (© Today Tonight / PA)

Mel Greig and Michael Christian gave emotional interviews to Australian TV networks, saying they could never have predicted the death of 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha.

"There's nothing that can make me feel worse than what I feel right now," Greig said, repeatedly breaking down in tears on the Today Tonight show on Australia's Channel Seven.

"And for what I feel for the family. We're so sorry that this has happened to them."

Christian added that he was "gutted, shattered, heartbroken" by the news.

I remember my first question was: 'Was she a mother?' I have thought about this a million times in my head.

Mel Greig

Mrs Saldanha, a mother-of-two, was found dead on Friday near the hospital where she worked - just days after taking a call from the DJs who were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles.

She fell for the prank and, believing the call to be genuine, put them through to the ward at King Edward VII's Hospital where Kate was being treated for an extreme form of morning sickness.

A colleague then gave personal details regarding the Duchess's condition, despite the phoney accents even the DJs themselves described as "terrible".

Both Greig and Christian insist they never meant their call to go so far and had fully expected staff at the hospital to hang up on them.

"It was something that was just fun and light-hearted and a tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected," Christian told the Nine Network'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.

Michael Christian

The DJs' show on radio station 2Day FM has been cancelled, while all advertising has been suspended on the station by its owner, Southern Cross Austero Media, until further notice.

The company has also suspended all prank calls.

Both Greig and Christian are on indefinite leave and are said to be receiving counselling.

They have both closed their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts after being bombarded with abusive and threatening messages.

The call, which was pre-recorded, had been vetted by lawyers before being broadcast and the radio station claims attempts were made to contact the hospital before it was broadcast.

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."

It is understood that Scotland Yard has contacted police in Sydney, with a view to interviewing the two DJs ahead of an inquest into Mrs Saldanha's death.

A post-mortem examination is due to be held this week and an inquest has opened and been adjourned at Westminster Coroner's Court. The death is not being treated as suspicious.

© UTV News
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2 Comments
Ricky in East Antrim wrote (683 days ago):
These DJ's are fall guys. They done nothing wrong and pranks are played every day of the week. They coud never have predicted this outcome. Leave them alone and give them their job back. Although I feel sympathy for the nurses family you cannot blame the DJ's. There must have been something incredibly fragile about this woman for her to take this extreme measure. She was not disiplined by the hospital or the Royals, so it was an extreme choice from a possibly unstable or fragile person who possibly needed some help herself mentaly. Anyway, whatever the reasons its a sad story.
Dave in .. wrote (683 days ago):
A tragic outcome to what started out as a 'prank'. Whilst the DJ's concerned in hindsight could have done things differently, it must be asked what protocols ( if any ) had been put in place by the Hospital regarding 'enquiries' from 'Family' of members of the press? Surely ANY call regarding the Dutchess should have been automatically passed to a Senior member of Staff, to verify the callers ID and not simply put straight through to the ward. It would seem, on the face of it that the Hospital are trying to distance themselves from the unfortunate death of the Nurse concerned. More questions need to be asked perhaps?
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