Radio Sandwell News

Hoax nurse tried to commit suicide before

2012-12-24 09:37:50

The nurse who committed suicide after answering a hoax call about the Duchess of Cambridge had been treated for depression after a previous suicide attempt, it was claimed yesterday.

Jacintha Saldanha, who killed herself days after the hoax phone call from two Australian radio DJs, was admitted to a hospital psychiatric ward following two apparent suicide bids.

She reportedly took an overdose of pills during a family visit to India last December and tried to commit suicide again just nine days later by jumping from a building.

Mrs Saldanha, 46, was kept in intensive care for two days before she received psychiatric care and was reportedly prescribed a nine-month course of anti-depressants.

Her family has previously denied any history of depression, and yesterday refused to comment on the reports about her previous suicide attempts in Mangalore, southern India.

They have sent letters to the Australian radio station which broadcast the hoax and King Edward VII Hospital in London, where Mrs Saldanha worked and the Duchess of Cambridge was treated for acute morning sickness.

The grieving family asked if there was any indication that the nurse was under 'increased pressure or stress' in the weeks before her death, or if she was 'spoken to' by a matron by telephone a day after the prank call.

Mrs Saldanha was found hanged with a scarf at her living quarters at the Central London hospital on December 7.

Three days earlier, she was the duty nurse who answered the prank call from DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles, and transferred the call to a colleague.

That nurse revealed confidential medical information about the pregnant Duchess and the call was broadcast in Australia and made headlines around the world.

British police have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to determine if any offences were committed.

The DJs could face a charge of attempting to obtain medical details by deception and charges could be brought against their radio station 2Day FM if it is found to have broadcast the call without the permission of the participants.

Members of her family said Mrs Saldanha was so ashamed about the call that she did not tell her husband or their two children about it before her death, despite speaking to them by telephone several times.

Relatives in Mangalore said she had only told her husband to watch the news, without telling him she was at the centre of the prank call storm.

Reports in the Deccan Herald in Mangalore claimed Mrs Saldanha had been battling depression for at least 12 months.

In December last year, she and her husband Benedict Barboza, 49, an accountant, and their son Junal, 17, and adopted daughter Lisha, 14, attended a family wedding near Mangalore.
The devout Catholic family celebrated Christmas together but just a few days later Mrs Saldanha was admitted to a private hospital and treated for 'self-harm'.

She was believed to have attempted suicide again on January 8 and was treated at Father Muller Medical College Hospital for head injuries from a 'fall'.

She was kept in intensive care for several days and then transferred to the hospital's psychiatric ward, where she was treated for depression.

Mrs Saldanha was discharged three days later and given a nine-month course of anti-depressants, and doctors warned her family of 'the risk of deliberate self-harm and the need for 24-hour supervision', according to the Indian paper.

Her younger brother Naveen Saldanha, 42, told the Mail on Sunday: 'We didn't know about the first incident, but we knew about the second incident at Father Muller.'

He refused to give further details. He said he believed Mrs Saldanha did not tell her family about her involvement in the hoax as she felt ashamed.

He said: 'I want justice for my sister. I want the British authorities to get the truth. My best memory of my sister was her kindness.' It is not known if staff at King Edward VII Hospital knew of Mrs Saldanha's treatment in India, and the hospital refused to comment.

Her widower Mr Barboza also declined to comment at the family's home in Bristol, saying: 'I'm sorry, I don't want to say anything.'


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