Nurse who took royal prank call committed suicide, inquest rules

Nurse who took royal prank call committed suicide, inquest rules

LONDON - A nurse found dead in her lodgings after answering a prank call from two Australian radio presenters about Kate Middleton's first pregnancy two years ago committed suicide, an inquest ruled on Friday.

Indian-born Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found hanging in December 2012, three days after she answered the call from Mel Greig and Michael Christian in which they had pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.

Saldanha put the call through to a colleague who disclosed details of Charles' daughter-in-law's condition during treatment for an extreme form of morning sickness in the early stages of pregnancy, making headlines around the world.

One of the radio presenters, Greig, had flown over from Australia to attend the inquest at London's High Court.

In an emotional statement read in court she said to the nurse's family: "My thoughts continue to be with you. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. This tragedy will always stay with me and serve as a constant reminder."

The two-day inquest had heard Saldanha blamed herself for the incident.

"The hoax call was clearly pressing on her mind," said Coroner Fiona Wilcox giving her suicide ruling.

The inquest was held just days after it was announced that Prince William and his wife Kate are expecting their second child, with the duchess once again suffering acute morning sickness.

Last year, British prosecutors said the two Australians would face no criminal charges over the death of the nurse, a mother of two.

On Thursday, the court had heard that the hoax call was made to the Edward VII hospital at about 5:30 a.m. London time and was followed by four more calls from the 2Day FM station seeking permission to broadcast it.

Fiona Barton, representing the hospital, said the subsequent calls had almost certainly also been answered by Saldanha.

"If she did answer those calls ... it could only have added to the stress she was under when she realised this was a prank phone call made by a radio station," Barton said.

Saldanha's husband Benedict Barboza said on Thursday his wife had been her usual happy, bubbly self before the incident. He said she was not suffering from stress and had no history of depression.

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