Added by Erik West on December 12, 2012
The family of the nurse involved in a prank call by Australian radio hosts revealed she left a suicide note, yet they did not reveal the note’s contents.
The family of the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, disclosed the note’s existence during a meeting at the British House of Commons with Labor MP Keith Vaz.
The family said they were not aware of the hoax in which Saldanha transferred a prank call made by radio hosts Mel Greig And Michael Christian of the 2Day FM Australian radio station – which lead to the disclosure of private information about Kate Middleton’s condition. Middleton was being treated at London’s King Edward VII hospital for morning sickness.
In an interview in Australian’s Channel Nine program, Current Affairs, Michael Christian – one of the DJs that made the prank call – said, “I didn’t think that anyone could have expected or foreseen what was going to happen. It was completely innocent – we thought we would be cut off at any point.”
In the prank, radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian called London’s King Edward VII hospital on Friday. They pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles using an accent the radio hosts referred to as “awful”. Jacintha Saldanha answered the phone and transferred the call to the ward in which the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated, where they then received private information about Middleton’s condition.
The prank call was aired soon after it ended and was posted via Twitter. The ratio station promoted the prank call until Saldanha death was announced by authorities.
In the Channel Nine interview radio host Mel Greig said, “The entertainment was in us – it was meant to be about the silly accents and getting hung-up on.”
“There was no malice intended, we did not want to offend, and assumed the same phone call was made 100 times before then,” added Christian.
Answering a question from Tracy Grimshaw, the Channel Nine interviewer, about their reaction when they heard about Saldanha’s death a sobbing Greig said, “Theres not a minutes that goes by the we don’t think about the family and what they’ve gone though. And the thought that we may have played a part in it…”
The DJs have been suspended and the radio program has been canceled.
The radio station’s owners said profits from advertising and other revenue would be donated to a fund setup for Saldanha’s family – the owners estimate the donation will about to about US$500,000.
Authorities have not disclosed Saldanha’s cause of death – an autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday and the results may be made available to the family by Thursday.
Some are questioning the legality of prank calls.
The New South Wales state Surveillance Devices Act prohibits the broadcast of recorded private conversations without participants’ permission, with violations punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to US$58,000.
The owners of the radio station said prank calls have been banned across all of their radio stations.