Nurse in British royal prank was found hanged: inquest

LONDON Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:57am EST

1 of 2. MP Keith Vaz addresses the media outside Westminster Coroner's Court following an inquest hearing into the death of a British nurse who committed suicide after being taken in by a prank call to a hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in London December 13, 2012. Nurse Jacintha Saldanha's committed suicide after being taken in by a prank call to the hospital, police said on Thursday.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - A British nurse who committed suicide after being taken in by a prank call to a hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife Kate hanged herself from a wardrobe in her apartment, police said on Thursday.

Jacintha Saldanha's body was found last Friday, days after she put the call from an Australian radio station through to a colleague who disclosed details of the treatment of the Duchess of Cambridge, suffering from acute morning sickness.

Detective chief inspector James Harman told the coroner, an official who certifies causes of death, at an inquest that Saldanha was found hanging by a scarf.

"There were also some injuries to the wrist," he said. Three notes were also discovered at the scene.

The prank made headlines around the world, as did news that Saldanha, who was married with two children, had then apparently committed suicide, leading to widespread condemnation of the radio station involved, 2Day FM.

Presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian had phoned the King Edward VII private hospital at 12:30 a.m. Eastern Time, pretending to be William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth and his father, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles.

Despite their unconvincing impersonations, Saldanha, who happened to answer the phone, transferred the call through a nurse on Kate's ward who disclosed brief details of her condition.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Comments (3)
DeanMJackson wrote:
This makes no sense. Either Jacintha Saldanha was a very unstable person, with zero sense of humor, or there is something ominous going on here.

This inexplicable behavior on the part of Jacintha Saldanha, coming on the heels of the release of the Leveson Inquiry report (released November 29), is troubling:

“Leveson found that the existing Press Complaints Commission is not sufficient, and recommends a new independent body, which would have a range of sanctions available to it, including fines and direction of the prominence of apologies and corrections. Membership of the body would be voluntary, but incentivised by schemes such as a kitemark and an inquisitorial arbitration service for handling tort claims such as libel and breach of privacy, and by allowing exemplary damages to be awarded in cases brought against non-participants in the scheme, something not usually part of English law. Leveson rejected the characterisation of his proposal as “statutory regulation of the press”.” — Leveson Inquiry, Wikipedia

Also, “On 20 July 2011, Cameron announced in a speech to Parliament the final terms of reference of Leveson’s inquiry, stating that it will extend beyond newspapers to include broadcasters and social media. He also announced a panel of six people who will work with the judge on the inquiry…”

The proof that the Leveson Inquiry is nothing more than a cover for press/media censorship is the fact that there wasn’t another such inquiry set up for the Metropolitan Police (Met), who if you recall was assisting the press with illegal phone hacking for money schemes. Where is a similar Leveson Inquiry for the Met that would place the Met under the watchful eyes of aggressively independent observers?

Dec 13, 2012 2:43pm EST  --  Report as abuse
AltonBob wrote:
@DeanMJackson, it is clear you have your knickers in a knot over the Leveson inquiry. What’s not clear is how you managed to link that to the suicide of Jacintha Saldanha.
Due to a few remaining ethics in the press and police about privacy, we do not have access to the notes the nurse left, nor do we know her state of mind, nor the reaction her employers may have exhibited after she allowed the prank to succeed as well as it did. For all we know, the prank may have had nothing to do with her death… or it might have been a critical element.
This chain of events shows the risks taken by practical jokers: that the attempt at humour may backfire. It serves as a reminder to all those who indulge in such activities that there may be unpleasant repercussions, and if you don’t want to face up to them, then it might be wise to not commit the prank.

Dec 13, 2012 11:07pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheDeuceman wrote:
This is a tragic end to a perfectly wonderful prank. What I find uncontrollably hilarious about the whole thing is the absolutely atrocious quality and demeanor of the phone call itself. These two local yokels in Aussie land were stumbling over their good fortune at having gotten through to the first attendant and couldn’t contain themselves in their amusement. It was the funniest thing I have even heard. It OBVIOUSLY was too much for this women to handle. I feel totally perplexed about the matter. Truly a dichotomy of conscience.

Darrow…for the Prosecution

Dec 17, 2012 4:10am EST  --  Report as abuse
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