The nurse found dead after being duped by a prank call to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge has been buried at a funeral today in India.
Jacintha Saldanha’s body was flown from the UK on Sunday ahead of a memorial service before being laid to rest in a cemetery behind the Our Lady of the Health Church in the town of Shirva in Karnataka, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The 46-year-old mother of two was found hanged in staff apartments near London’s King Edward VII hospital on Friday, December 7.
Last week, The Guardian reported that one of three notes left by the nurse had “criticized hospital staff.” Previously, a public statement by John Lofthouse, the hospital’s chief executive, said Mrs. Saldanha had felt “humiliated” by the prank call.
On Tuesday December 4, Mrs. Saldanha unwittingly transferred a call from two Australian radio DJs from 2Day FM — after they impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles — to a nurse on the ward where the duchess was being treated for acute morning sickness.
It was, in fact, this second nurse who divulged details of the duchess’ condition.
Mrs. Saldanha’s family, husband Benedict Barboza and their two teenage children, Junal and Lisha, attended the funeral after accompanying Mrs. Saldanha’s body on the journey to India over the weekend, notes the Daily Telegraph.
According to Australia’s news.com, “more than 1000 mourners gathered for the late afternoon funeral liturgy.” A male relative of the family told the outlet, “We’re simple people. The family are very upset by the media. They really need their privacy.”
At an earlier Westminster Cathedral mass held for Mrs. Saldanaha in London on Saturday, Mr. Barboza paid public tribute to his wife, describing her as “the light in my darkness, who always showed me the way forward … I feel a part of me has been ripped out.”
Questions surrounding both Mrs. Saldanha’s death and her treatment by the hospital where she worked for four years continue to be asked.
Despite King Edward’s VII’s strenuous claims that they gave their “full support” to both nurses after the prank incident, British politician, Keith Vaz — who is acting as a spokesman for the Saldanha family — has publicly called for a hospital inquiry so that the “full facts” can be revealed.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the family — who have since been given typed copies of all three suicide notes — “did not know about the hoax call until after Mrs. Saldanha’s death.”
Investigations by the UK’s Metropolitan police, Australia’s New South Wales force, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority into (respectively) Mrs. Saldanha’s death, 2Day FM, and its parent company Southern Austereo Cross — are ongoing.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the two DJ’s — Mel Greig and Michael Christian — remain off-air and have been moved into “safe houses” after death threats followed their emotional statements on Australian television.
An inquest into Mrs. Saldanha’s death was opened in London last week and a provisional date for the next hearing has been set for March 26, 2013.