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Monday 22 September 2014

Hundreds mourn prank tragedy nurse

Published 17/12/2012 | 02:54

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Jacintha Saldanha was found dead last Friday
Benedict Barboza, center, holds his son Junal, right, and daughter Lisha during the burial of his wife, nurse Jacintha Saldanha in Shirva, south-west India (AP)
A casket containing the body of Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse found hanging in her room days after she had been duped by a hoax call (AP)

Hundreds of mourners have gathered in a small town in India for the funeral of a nurse found dead after answering a prank call to the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was treated for morning sickness.

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Friends and family paid their respects to Jacintha Saldanha, 46, during a simple ceremony in Shirva, some 30 miles north of Mangalore on the south-west coast.

Earlier, crowds lined the roads close to the Catholic church to pay their respects while relatives attended a private prayer ceremony at her home.

Ms Saldanha, a mother-of-two, was found hanging in her nurses' quarters at London's King Edward VII's Hospital by a colleague and a security guard on December 7.

Three days earlier she transferred a call from two Australian DJs, believing they were the Queen and Prince of Wales, to a colleague who described in detail the Duchess's condition during her hospital stay.

Her children, Junal, 16, and Lisha, 14, have described the "unfillable void" left in their lives by their mother's death.

During a mass at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, her husband Benedict Barboza fought back tears as he paid an emotional tribute to his wife, telling mourners: "I feel a part of me has been ripped out."

He accompanied a coffin carrying her body into Our Lady of Health Church at around 4pm local time, after journeying back to the family's home-town for the funeral.

Authorities in India are understood to have made extensive arrangements - upping security and setting up barricades - to accommodate crowds of mourners touched by Ms Saldanha's death.

Mr Barboza is understood to be spending Christmas with his family in Shirva as he comes to terms with his wife's death.

Press Association

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