One of the Australian DJ’s involved in the ‘Royal Hoax’ telephone phone call to the hospital that treated Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is to appear at the UK inquest of one of the nurses who took the call and later committed suicide.
Mel Greig asked to attend the inquest into the death of nurse Jacintha Saldhana and has been granted permission by the coroner.
In a statement, Ms. Greig’s lawyers said:
“Ms. Saldanha’s suicide was a devastating tragedy and Ms. Greig’s thoughts have been with the family ever since.”
“Ms. Greig fully understands their need for answers, which is why she has taken this step to appear as an individual at the inquest.”
“She is determined to address any questions surrounding her role in these tragic events as part of the inquest. Ms Greig wants the family to know she will answer any questions the coroner or the family’s lawyers may have at the inquest.”
On December 4, Greig, and her co-host at the Sydney radio station 2Day FM, Michael Christian, telephoned the King Edward VII hospital in London where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for acute morning sickness.
Saldhana was the nurse who put them through to Kate’s ward, believing the DJs were the Queen and the Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales after the two DJ’s represented themselves as such.
A second nurse on the ward then gave the pair information about the Duchess’ condition, which was later released into the public domain.
Ms. Saldanha’s was discovered hanged at her nurses accommodation apartment on December 7.
Greig’s announcement comes a day after the UK’s Sunday Times printed what it said was an extract from one of three notes written by the 46-year-old mother of two before she died.
According to the paper, one of the notes that was addressed to her employers at the King Edward VII Hospital blames the presenters for her death.
“Please accept my apologies. I am truly sorry. Thank you for all your support. I hold the Radio Australians Mel Greig and Michael Christian responsible for this act. Please make them pay my mortgage. I am sorry,” wrote Ms. Saldanha, according to the Sunday Times.
If authentic, the note will be a crucial insight into Ms. Saldanha’s state of mind before her death, and at the inquest which was due to re-open in London this week but has now been delayed.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper previously reported that Ms. Saldanha criticized the hospital for their treatment of her after the hoax call.
According to the Sunday Times, the second note indicated Ms. Saldanha did not blame her work colleagues. The third left instructions for her funeral.
Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the Sydney radio station, has said it will be contributing $500,000 into a trust fund for Ms. Saldanha’s family.
Ms. Saldanha — who was survived by husband Benedict Barboza, 49, a hospital accountant and two children, Junal, 17, and Lisha, 14 — trained as a nurse in Mangalore in southern India before moving to Britain more than a decade ago.
It was later revealed that Ms. Saldanha was distressed by problems at work and her husband has criticized the hospital for its handling of the situation.
It was also reported that she had previously been placed on anti-depressants.
A spokesman for King Edward VII’s Hospital previously said:
“Jacintha Saldanha was an outstanding and much-loved member of our team. We continue to assist the coroner so that she can establish the full facts of the case.”
Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who is acting as the Saldanha’s family’s spokesman, said: “The forthcoming inquest will hopefully provide answers for the family and for them it will represent closure.”
Greig is yet to return to the airwaves. Michael Christian is back on the air in a lower profile role for a Southern Cross Austereo radio station in Melbourne.
Christian has declined to make an individual statement to the inquest.
In Australia, the “Royal Hoax” incident is being investigated by the broadcasting watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority.