Radio Sandwell News

Jacintha Saldanha inquest: Kate hoax nurse found hanged

2012-12-13 21:55:34

Jacintha Saldanha

A nurse fooled by a hoax call to the London hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge was later found hanged, an inquest has heard.

Jacintha Saldanha was found dead in her nurses' quarters on Friday, three days after the call from Australian radio presenters pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles.

There were also injuries to her wrist, Westminster Coroner's Court heard.

The inquest was opened and adjourned until 26 March.

Det Ch Insp James Harman told the court: "On Friday 7 December Jacintha Saldanha was found by a colleague and a member of security staff. Sadly she was found hanging.

"There was also injuries to her wrist. The London Ambulance Service was called to the scene. At this time there are no suspicious circumstances."

Two notes were found in Mrs Saldanha's room and another among her possessions, the court was also told.

Mrs Saldanha, a 46-year-old wife and mother of two, transferred the telephone call on 4 December to a colleague who then gave a detailed update on the duchess's condition to the hoaxers.

The duchess, who is in the early stages of pregnancy, was receiving treatment at King Edward VII's Hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness.

Presenters 'heartbroken'

Keith Vaz MP, who has been giving support to Mrs Saldanha's family, said he had relayed the details of the brief inquest hearing to them by phone.

He told the BBC News channel: "They are a wonderful family - in all my 25 years in Parliament I have never had to sit in a room as I did with them on Sunday, and hear them grief-stricken.

"They are wonderful, the family are just very special. They need time to grieve - this is a terrible circumstance for them at the moment."

A memorial service is due to be held on Saturday at Westminster Cathedral in central London.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron offered condolences to the family and said there would be "many lessons that need to be learnt" from Mrs Saldanha's death.

"She clearly loved her job, loved her work and cared deeply about the health of her patients and what has happened is a complete tragedy," he said.

Australia's media watchdog has launched a formal inquiry into the hoax call, focusing on the licence-holder for 2DayFM radio station, Today FM Sydney Pty Ltd.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority will consider whether the licensee complied with its licence conditions and the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice.

Station owner Southern Cross Austereo has said all profits from advertising for the rest of the year will go into a fund for Mrs Saldanha's family.

The two presenters, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, have said they are "gutted and heartbroken" over the death.


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