independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Kate Middleton hoax DJs not returning to radio show

The Australian radio hosts involved in the hoax call to the Duchess of Cambridge's hospital, which led to a nurse apparently taking her own life, will not return to their show until further notice "out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy", said a spokeswoman for their radio station.

The nurse has been found dead - two days after being duped by a hoax from an Australian radio station.

The woman received the phone call from the two Australian radio presenters and, believing she was speaking with the Queen, passed it to a colleague who revealed private information about the Duchess of Cambridge's condition.



In the wake of the tragedy the company which runs the radio station said that, by mutual consent, the hosts would not be returning to their show until further notice.



In a statement Southern Cross Austereo said: "Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII's Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.



"Chief executive officer Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters. They are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they will not comment about the circumstances.



"SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy."



An ambulance was called to the hospital this morning where the woman was found unconscious.



Paramedics made efforts to revive her but she was pronounced dead at the scene.



The nurse has been named this afternoon as Jacintha Saldanha. The King Edward VII hospital said it made the announcement with "very deep sadness."



The 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."



Reacting to the news, William and Kate said in a statement they were "deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha", St James's Palace said today, adding: "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."



Ms Saldanha is understood to be the first person to be heard during a hoax call to the Edward VII Hospital from two presenters from the Australian radio station 2Day FM.



She was at first thought to be a receptionist at the hospital but is now understood to have been a nurse who was staffing the switchboard.



She transferred the hoaxers to a second nurse on the Duchess’s ward who gave them an update about her condition saying she had had an “uneventful night” and revealed information about her morning sickness.



The Duchess was released from the hospital yesterday but the stunt provoked global outrage.



The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were reported to be angry at the intrusion.



The woman nurse who has been found dead took the call from the radio DJs in the early hours of Tuesday morning saying: “Hello, good morning, King Edward VII Hospital.”



The presenter, Mel Greig, who was impersonating the Queen said: “Oh, hello there. Could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?”



The woman answered: “Oh yes, just hold on ma’am.”



Scotland Yard said: ”Police were called at about 9.35am on Friday December 7 to reports of a woman found unconscious at an address in Weymouth Street, W1.



“The 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 being treated as unexplained.”



Sources say the death is not being treated as suspicious.



The two hoaxers, Greig and Michael Christian, were put through to a second nurse who told them: “She's sleeping at the moment and she has had an uneventful night. She's been given some fluids, she's stable at the moment.”



The 2Day FM station in Sydney later apologised for the shocking prank



The stunt was deeply embarrassing for the Edward VII Hospital, which is the medical institution of choice for the Royal Family.



It led people to take to Twitter and social networking sites voicing their disbelief.



However, Prince Charles yesterday made a joke about the hoax, asking reporters: “How do you know I'm not a radio station?”



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".



Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse condemned the hoax call, made in the early hours of Tuesday.



In a statement issued later on Tuesday, Mr Lofthouse said: "I think this whole thing is pretty deplorable, our nurses are caring, professional people trained to look after patients, not to cope with journalistic trickery of this sort."



He said there was no chance the Duchess could have received the call, adding: "Technically I think this was a breach of patient confidentiality, which I very much regret. Having said that, the information which was inadvertently revealed is already in the public domain."



The 2Day FM presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, later apologised for their actions as did their radio station.

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