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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

World

'Indian-origin nurse in Kate hoax call was found hanging'
PTI
London, December 13, 2012
First Published: 16:53 IST(13/12/2012)
Last Updated: 16:58 IST(13/12/2012)

An Indian-origin nurse, who died after being duped by a prank call made by two Australian DJs to a UK hospital treating a pregnant Kate Middleton, was found hanging at her staff accommodation, an inquest heard on Thursday.

46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha was found dead last Friday, three days after the call from Australian radio presenters pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles. She had transferred the call at the King Edward VII's Hospital to a colleague who detailed Kate's condition.

The inquest, which opened at Westminster Coroner's court on Thursday, heard that Saldanha, a mother of two, was found hanging by the neck from a scarf on a wardrobe door in her room near the hospital in central London.

Saldanha also had injuries on one of her wrists.

"Jacintha Saldanha was found by a colleague and a member of security staff. Sadly she was found hanging. There were also injuries to her wrist. The London Ambulance Service was called to the scene. At this time there are no suspicious circumstances," detective chief inspector James Harman told the inquest.

He told the inquest at Westminster Coroner's court that two notes were found in her room and another was among her possessions. He did not disclose their contents.

Coroner Fiona Wilcox opened and adjourned the inquest until March 26, as inquiries are continuing.

Prime Minister David Cameron paid tributes to Saldanha and offered condolences to her family last evening.

"She clearly loved her job, loved her work and cared deeply about the health of her patients and what has happened is a complete tragedy," Cameron said at the House of Commons. "There will be many lessons that need to be learnt."

Australia's media watchdog, meanwhile, launched a rare fast-track probe into the broadcast of the prank call by a Sydney-based radio station.

As the hoax call sparked global condemnation, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it was using its special powers to launch a rare "own motion" probe contrary to other cases where it has to wait for complaints.

A spokesman of ACMA said it would investigate whether the licence holder 'Today FM Sydney Pty Ltd' breached its licence conditions or the industry's code of practice.

The radio station's owner Southern Cross Austereo had said earlier that all profits from advertising for the rest of the year would go into a fund for Saldanha's family. It had said it would make a minimum contribution of 500,000 dollars.

The two radio presenters, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, had said they are "gutted and heartbroken" over the death of the nurse after their prank call.


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