News

Royal prank death nurse criticised hospital in suicide note

ONE of three apparent suicide notes left by the nurse at the centre of the royal hoax phone call criticised staff at the King Edward VII hospital where she worked, the Guardian has reported.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found hanged in her apartment in the nurses' quarter of the hospital in central London, by a colleague and a security officer, an inquest into her death heard on Thursday.

Three notes were found, two at the scene and one in the nurse's belongings.

The dead woman's family has been given typed copies of the three handwritten notes by the police and has read the contents, the Guardian has been told.

One note deals with the hoax call by the DJs from 2Day FM, another details her requests for her funeral, and the third addresses her employers, the hospital, and contains criticism of staff there, the Guardian understands from two separate sources.

Meanwhile, Southern Cross Austereo staff have reportedly been moved to safehouses and management have hired bodyguards as police investigate death threats against the company's employees.

About a dozen staff have been moved to hotels and up to 10 executives have been assigned bodyguards, costing the embattled radio company an estimated $75,000 a week, News Ltd reports.

Royal radio prank nurse left three suicide notes, inquest told

A family photo of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who was found dead after being caught up in a Royal radio prank involving a Sydney station.
A family photo of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who was found dead after being caught up in a Royal radio prank involving a Sydney station.

The nurse duped by a prank call from Australian radio DJs while she was caring for the Duchess of Cambridge left three notes before she died, a coroner heard in the UK.

Two were in the room where Jacintha Saldanha was found hanging by colleagues, while a third was found among her personal possessions, police said.

During an inquest hearing this morning, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that they would speak to their Australian colleagues about interviewing witnesses due to the "wider circumstances" which surround the case, before reporting back.

It has also emerged that the radio station involved faces losing its broadcasting licence over the stunt as the Australian media regulator launches an investigation.

The coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox expressed her sympathy to Ms Saldanha's colleagues and family, who she said have been "touched by her death".

Giving evidence at Westminster Coroner's Court this morning, Detective Chief Inspector James Harman said that she was found by a colleague and a security guard in the nurse's quarters at the King Edward VII's hospital in London.

He confirmed that the nurse was found hanging and that she had cuts on her wrists. DCI Harman added that Scotland Yard expected be in contact with police in New South Wales in the very near future to interview witnesses to "put the best evidence before" the coroner about the circumstances of the death.

He said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Ms Saldanha's death.

The body of Indian-born Ms Saldanha had been visually identified by her accountant husband Benedict Barboza, the court heard. No family members were present at the short hearing but colleagues from the hospital were in court to represent Ms Saldanha.

The nurse took the call made by the Australian DJs pretending to be the Queen and Prince Philip while Kate Middleton was in the hospital in which she worked suffering from acute morning sickness. She was taken in by their trick and transferred the call.

Last night, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that it has opened a formal investigation into the prank. The investigation will focus on the compliance of the licensee, Today FM Sydney Pty Ltd, with its licence conditions and the Australian Commercial Radio Codes of Practice, it said.

Chris Chapman, the ACMA chairman, said the investigation would not focus on the presenters. "The ACMA will be examining whether the licensee has complied with its broadcasting obligations," he said.

The station 2Day FM has been criticised in the past over its broadcasting standards. In 2009, a 14-year-old girl was encouraged to reveal that she had been raped while strapped to a lie-detector on air. And the same presenter Kylie Sandilands later called a female journalist "some fat slag" and a "piece of shit".

The station's parent company has pledged to donate £326,000 from its advertising profits to a memorial fund set up in Mrs Saldanha's name by King Edward VII Hospital.

2Day FM's chief executive expressed his sorrow. Rhys Holleran said: "It is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts continue to be with the family."

The coroner opened and adjourned the inquest, giving a provisional date of March 26 2013 for it to continue.

 If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide contact Lifeline 13 11 14, beyondblue 1300 22 46 36, or Salvo Care Line 1300 36 36 22

Topics:  editors picks, jacintha saldanha, nurse death, royal radio prank


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Jo-Ann Miller speech leaves ALP faithful stunned

STILL STRONG: Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller MP at her Goodna office.

MP sticks to her guns at closed Labor conference

Child abduction charges filed against 16-year-old

A man and woman were arrested following a police chase last night at Blacksoil.

Boy on child abduction charges after a 10-month-old went missing

Two Ipswich women charged over Adelaide murder

A photo of Robert Whitwell, released by South Australia Police.

South Australia to seek extradition

Latest deals and offers

Granddaughter to face court over man's alleged murder

THE granddaughter of murdered Adelaide man Robert Whitwell will today today face court charged with his murder.

Jo-Ann Miller speech leaves ALP faithful stunned

STILL STRONG: Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller MP at her Goodna office.

MP sticks to her guns at closed Labor conference

Woman, 22, has died from injuries after Underwood crash

A Police Forensic Crash Unit vehicle at the scene of a serious crash, Saturday, December 06, 2014. Photo Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle

Two-vehicle crash occurred at Kingston and Compton rds

Where the sinkhole water came from

The Basin Pocket sinkhole was drained into  gully.

The lab results are in

Court hears evidence of drug deal that led to stabbing

CRIME SCENE: Forensic police officers investigate a fatal stabbing on Cobalt St in Carole Park.

Witness tells court stabbing victim wanted drug money to pay rent

Die-hard fan's 34 magic Gympie Muster years

STICK AROUND FOR A BEER: Mal Williams has been at every Gympie Muster for 34 years.

Mal Williams has only missed one Muster in 35 years - the first one

That's a wrap: Gympie Muster celebrates 35 years in style

Caitlyn Shadbolt performs at the Muster Club on Sunday August 28 at the Gympie Muster.

Country music festival blessed with great weather and bumper crowds

Julia and Sasha top The Block's leaderboard

Julia and Sasha in their winning master en-suite in a scene from The Block.

FIRST room reveals of the season deliver mixed results.

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa