Saturday 16 December 2017

'I'd failed as a human being' - DJ who made prank call to royal hospital

2Day FM radio presenters Michael Christian and Mel Greig (Metropolitan Police/PA)
2Day FM radio presenters Michael Christian and Mel Greig (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Handout screen grab issued by Today Tonight of Michael Christian and Mel Greig
Michael Christian and Mel Greig
2 Day FM radio presenters Mel Greig, left, and Michael Christian made the prank call to the hospital (AP/APP/Southern Cross Austereo Sydney)
The family of Jacintha Saldanha have yet to receive answers from hospital bosses to questions over the death

One of the Australian DJs who made a prank call to the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated during her pregnancy has admitted she "should have tried harder" to stop the call going to air.

Mel Greig revealed that she and her family had received death threats after the hoax was linked to the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, and said she felt she had been living a "stranger's life" since the controversy.

Speaking to the Sunday Night programme on Australia's Channel 7 network, she said: "When this first happened, I absolutely blamed myself, 100pc.

"I felt like I'd failed as a human being, to make someone feel that way, enough to take their own life. I'm slowly learning that's it all my fault but it's going to take me time to get to that point.

"I should have tried harder not to let that prank call air."

Ms Greig and 2Day FM co-host Michael Christian made a prank call to London's King Edward VII Hospital in December 2012 where Kate was being treated for severe morning sickness.

The presenters - pretending to be the Queen and the Prince of Wales - were put through to her ward by Bristol mother-of-two Ms Saldanha, who was found hanged three days after the hoax was widely publicised in the media.

One of several notes the nurse left at the scene is reported to have blamed the radio presenters directly.

Ms Greig insisted she expressed concern that the hospital had not granted permission for the prank call to be aired.

She told the programme: "I absolutely expressed concern. As an announcer I'm trained that we always need to get permission if we're going to broadcast something, and it just didn't seem right that we would broadcast that without permission and without doing what we would normally do as announcers, so I was absolutely concerned."

Ms Greig added: "I don't feel like I'm myself anymore. For nine months I feel I've been living a stranger's life. I feel like I can't laugh."

The presenter, who has since resigned from radio station Southern Cross Austereo, said she and her family had received threatening phone calls following the controversy.

She said: "They would ring my mum and say 'Eye for an eye, you need to die because she died'. So many horrible phone calls. Dad was rushed to hospital from the stress and I thought 'Great, now I've killed my dad too'."

The interview was filmed last September but only went to air on Sunday, according to reports.

An inquest into the death of Ms Saldanha was postponed last September.

A spokesman for Westminster Council, which deals with media inquiries for Westminster Coroner's Court where the inquest was first opened, said a date for the hearing has not been fixed.

Press Association

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