British Lawmaker Blasts Royal Prank Radio Station Fund, Asks How Did ‘You Arrive At This Figure?’
The British lawmaker representing the family of the nurse who committed suicide after a prank call to the London hospital treating Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has blasted the Australian radio station owners’ response to the tragedy.
British newspapers have reported that Jacintha Saldanha was found hanged last Friday, just days after she transferred a hoax call from 2Day FM presenters to a duty nurse on the Duchess’ ward.
It was that duty nurse who then unwittingly divulged details about Kate’s acute morning sickness condition.
Since then, a transatlantic blame game between the King Edward VII hospital, the 2Day FM radio jocks — Mel Greig and Michael Christian — and Southern Austereo Cross ( SAC), the radio station’s parent company, has dominated headlines.
Keith Vaz, a British lawyer and politician, who has been advocating for Mrs. Saldanha’s husband, Benedict Barboza, and his two teenage children, has now written a highly critical letter to the Sydney based SAC.
“There has been no written apology, no request for a meeting with the family and no attempt to travel to the United Kingdom to express contrition,” Mr. Vaz wrote in a open letter to SAC’s chief executive Rhys Holleran.
Southern Cross, who have apologized for the prank call, said on Tuesday that they had canceled a staff Christmas party and would donate the rest of year’s advertising revenue to a memorial fund for Mrs. Saldanha’s family, with a minimum contribution of AU$500,000 (US$525,000).
“I would be grateful if you could let me know how you arrived at this figure and why you think this adequately deals with this serious and important issue,” Mr. Vaz’s letter continued.
Mr. Vaz’s letter to SAC comes a day after he also expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of counselling support given to the Saldanha family from the King Edward VII hospital.
A visibly emotional Greig and Christian have spoken on Australian television of feeling “shattered, gutted and heartbroken” and “incredibly sorry” for their role in the incident.
In addition to the revelation of how Mrs. Saldanha died, some media reports have reported that the 46-year-old nurse left a suicide note.
So far, London police have not commented on those reports but said details of Mrs. Saldanha’s death would be presented at an inquest beginning on Thursday.
On Wednesday, a Scotland Yard spokesman said the postmortem result “would be announced tomorrow at the inquest.”
For their part, the King Edward VII hospital said Mrs. Saldanha, who had been employed there for over four years, had not been criticized or disciplined for transferring the prank call.
Mr Vaz insists an inquiry is needed to establish the facts of what happened at the hospital, in the space of just three days.