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Sad: Nurse who was tricked over Kate Middleton’s pregnancy commits suicide

A nurse who transferred a prank phone call from two Australian radio presenters about the Duchess of Cambridge has died in a suspected suicide – two days after being duped.

The body of Jacintha Saldanha, who was working on the switchboard, was found at an address yards away from King Edward VII Hospital, where she worked, just before 9.30am today.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge issued a statement saying they are ‘deeply saddened’ by the tragedy and said they had not made a complaint, adding: ‘Their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.’

Tragedy: The receptionist was found unconscious and later died after handling a prank call by Australian radio DJs concerning the condition of Kate Middleton as she was treated for extreme morning sicknessTragedy: Kate and WIlliam have said they are ‘deeply saddened’ by Jacintha Saldanha’s death and paid tribute to the care the Duchess received at the King Edward VII

 

Friend: The receptionist who has died was a nurse helping answer the phonesDistraught: Nurses at the hospital head inside while clinging to eachother after hearing the news about Jacintha today

The King Edward VII hospital, who were not believed to be disciplining the mother of two over the incident, said it announced her death with ‘very deep sadness.’

Their statement added: ‘Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and well respected and popular with all over her colleagues.’

Nurse Ms Saldanha answered the hoax call at 5.30am on Wednesday morning, and was helping out on reception at the time of the prank.

Giggling DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles and asked her if they could be put through to Catherine.

Scene: A police car stands outside where Jacintha Saldanha's body was found this morningScene: A police car stands outside where Jacintha Saldanha’s body was found this morning

 

Accommodation: Jacintha was staying here - around the corner from the hospital - her family are believed to be in BristolAccommodation: Jacintha was staying here – around the corner from the hospital – her family are believed to be in Bristol
Guard: An officer guards the entrance to the block where the nurse's body was foundGuard: An officer guards the entrance to the block where the nurse’s body was found

Jacintha connected them to another nurse who gave details of Kate’s condition, who was suffering from acute morning sickness at the London hospital.

The presenters, from 2Day FM, remarked during their show how their efforts were the ‘easiest prank call ever made’, as they put on mock British accents they later described as ‘terrible’.

The Australian station and presenters advertised the stunt worldwide and today Christian was continuing to boast about the prank ‘making international headlines’ on Twitter.

Shattered: Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse spoke of their pain and sadness at the news of Jacintha's death - and clearly linked it to the hoax call she took from the Australian DJsShattered: Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse spoke of their pain and sadness at the news of Jacintha’s death – and clearly linked it to the hoax call she took from the Australian DJs
Patrol: Police officers walk outside King Edward VII hospital, on the day the receptionist duped by Australian DJs died in a suspected suicidePatrol: Police officers walk outside King Edward VII hospital, on the day a receptionist there duped by Australian DJs died in a suspected suicide

The emergency services were called and two ambulances were despatched to the central London residence today.

King Edward VII hospital spoke of the their shock at the death of Jacintha Saldanha in a statement:

‘It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha.

‘Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII’s Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues.

‘We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time.’

John Lofthouse, Chief Executive at King Edward VII’s Hospital, said: ‘Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague.”

Lord Glenarthur, Chairman of King Edward VII’s Hospital, says, ‘This is a tragic event. Jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. She will be greatly missed.’

But paramedics were unable to revive her and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her family, husband and two children have been informed.

The hospital said this afternoon: ‘It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha.

Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII’s Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues.

‘We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time.

John Lofthouse, Chief Executive at King Edward VII’s Hospital, added: ‘Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much loved and valued colleague.’

Lord Glenarthur, Chairman of King Edward VII’s Hospital, says, ‘This is a tragic event. Jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. She will be greatly missed.’

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘This is tragic news, and the thoughts of all at the Royal College of Nursing go to the family of Jacintha Saldanha.

‘It is deeply saddening that a simple human error due to a cruel hoax could lead to the death of a dedicated and caring member of the nursing profession.’

Officers from Scotland Yard launched an investigation yesterday and are treating the death as ‘unexplained’.

The exact cause of death remained unclear. However, one source indicated that the woman appeared to have killed herself.

Even today Christian was urging people to tune in to their show to hear more about #royalprank.

 

Mel Greig
Mike Christian

Presenters: Mel Greig (left) and Michael Christian (right) made the call about the Duchess

Still boasting: DJ Michael Christian's Twitter feed today Still boasting: DJ Michael Christian’s Twitter feed today

 

In the call at 5.30am on Tuesday impersonating the Queen, Miss Greig said: ‘Oh, hello there. Could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?’

Thinking she was speaking to the Queen, the receptionist replied: ‘Oh yes, just hold on ma’am’.

She then put the presenters through to one of the nurses who was caring for the Duchess.

The nurse also believed she was speaking to the Queen and went on to make a number of deeply personal observations about Kate’s health.

Third visit: Prince William (centre) arrives at the King Edward VII Hospital to visit his wife the Duchess of Cambridge in central London yesterday, as news was developing of the extraordinary callThird visit: Prince William (centre) arrives at the King Edward VII Hospital to visit his wife the Duchess of Cambridge in central London on Tuesday, as news was developing of the extraordinary call

A recording of the entire conversation was played on the Sydney-based radio station 2Day.

A radio station spokesman later apologised for the ‘inconvenience’ caused by the call.

He said yesterday: ‘2Day FM sincerely apologises for any inconvenience caused by the enquiry to Kate’s hospital. The radio segment was done with the best intentions and we wish Kate and her family all the best.’

The station is owned by Southern Cross Austereo, an Australian media group formed in a merger last year that has a collection of TV and radio brands, and claims to be able to connect with 95 per cent of Australians every week.

The prank call was pre-recorded and vetted by lawyers before being broadcast in Sydney.

Hospital boss John Lofthouse confirmed his staff had passed on information about Kate, saying: ‘This was a foolish prank call that we all deplore.’

A Scotland Yard spokesman said yesterday: ‘Police were called at approximately 9.25am on Friday, December 7, to a report of a woman found unconscious an address in Weymouth Street, W1.

‘London Ambulance Service attended and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

‘Inquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances of the incident.

‘The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage’.

MailOnline did not publish details of the tragedy until the hospital confirmed the woman’s family had been contacted.

Today the Duchess of Cambridge was resting at the London home she shares with Prince William after her release from hospital yesterday morning, where she had been recovering from hyperemesis gravidarum.

She was forced to cancel a string of engagements because of her acute morning sickness.

Kate, who was admitted to hospital on Monday, returned to Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace and cancelled upcoming engagements after doctors told her to rest.

And she may have to recuperate without Prince William by her side, as he may be returning to duty with his Search and Rescue squadron at RAF Valley in Anglesey, it has been reported.

She missed a planned fund-raising engagement in the City of London on Wednesday because she was confined to hospital.

William and the Duchess of Cambridge had been hoping to keep the news they were expecting a baby to themselves until Christmas Day.

But with Kate admitted to hospital with acute morning sickness, they had little choice but to make the announcement.

They delighted millions around the world – including their own families – with the happy news.

But as the word spread, the parents-to-be were together in hospital, facing the first hurdle in a much longed for pregnancy.

Kate, 30, who is barely eight weeks pregnant, was taken to the hospital just after Sunday lunch by her husband and immediately put on a drip to stop her becoming dehydrated.

UK Daily Mail

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