The coroner’s report came in on Thursday on the death of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who let the prank call of two Aussie DJs through to the hospital room of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. The DJs were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles.
Coroner’s officer Lynda Martindill said Jacintha Saldanha was found hanging by a scarf from a wardrobe in her room by a colleague and a member of the security staff at London’s King Edward VII Hospital last week.
Police detective chief inspector James Harman added that the nurse, who had worked at the hospital for some four years, also had injuries to her wrists. He told the coroner’s inquest that three — not just one, as reported yesterday — notes were found in the room. Authorities have also said there were no foul play suspected in her death.
The notes that Saldanha, 46, left for her family, husband Benedict Barboza and children Junal, 17, and Lisha, 14 may prove to be keys to the inquest. Their contents have not been revealed. In yesterday’s report, when it has been referred to as a “suicide note,” however.
One key point that has become known only recently is that Saldanha had not informed her family of her role in the Middleton incident. To be clear, Saldanha only patched the call through to the room; another nurse spent time talking to the faux royal family.
As well as investigating the notes, Harman said police were interviewing Saldanha’s friends, family and colleagues, as well as examining at emails and phone records in an attempt to establish what led to her death. The case is — as you might assume — being treated as an apparent suicide.
The incident began last week as 2Day FM DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, called and asked about the condition of Kate Middleton, then hospitalized for acute morning sickness. While she did not speak to them extensively, Saldanha patched them in to Middleton’s nurse (audio of the call can be heard here). A few days after the call, Saldanha apparently killed herself.
Since then, the company involved, Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), parent company of the Sydney radio station 2Day FM, said it would donate its all advertising revenue, with a minimum contribution of $525,000, to a memorial fund for Saldanha. Greig and Christian have been suspended and their radio show canceled.
SCA is also looking into modifying company policies, and has already banned prank calls.
The inquest was adjourned until March 26.