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Tue Sep 30 17:56:58 SAST 2014

Prank call DJs in hiding after death

The Sunday Telegraph and Sapa-dpa | 10 December, 2012 00:01
A stretcher is brought from a private ambulance into the block of flats where the nurse Jacintha Saldanha lived near the King Edward VII Hospital in central London December 7, 2012. A female nurse who took a prank call at the London hospital that treated Prince William's pregnant wife Kate for morning sickness has been found dead, the hospital said on Friday.
Image by: OLIVIA HARRIS / Reuters

AUSTRALIAN radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian have gone into hiding after the nurse who answered their prank phone call asking about the medical condition of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was found dead.

The royal is expecting her first child and had been hospitalised for severe morning sickness.

The DJs, who posed as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles for the call, are being kept secluded by radio station 2Day FM.

Reporters besieged a Sydney hotel where they believed Christian was staying after a spokesman for station owner Southern Cross Austereo told domestic news agency AAP that the pair would speak to reporters but that the timing of their press conference would depend on their mental state - described as "fragile".

2Day FM has been barraged by hostile messages on social media since Jacintha Saldanha was reportedly found dead in a King Edward VII Hospital flat on Friday.

There is speculation that she took her own life because of the humiliation of being duped by the Sydney radio shock jocks. When the telephone rang at the King Edward VII Hospital early on Tuesday morning, Jacintha Saldanha, one of the night nurses on duty, had the misfortune to pick it up.

Saldanha, 46, moved to Britain with her husband, Benedict Barboza, and their two young children nine years ago after working in the Middle East.

It appears that Saldanha took her own life - she was pronounced dead in her nurses' accommodation on Friday morning - three days after the prank call.

"I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances," Barboza posted on Facebook on Saturday.

Their 14-year-old daughter wrote: "I miss you, I love you," and signed off with a heart.

Saldanha's family in India spoke of their despair. Her mother-in-law, Carmine Barboza, 69, told of the distressing moment when her son telephoned her with the news on Friday night.

"He was crying and couldn't speak much," said Barboza, at the family home in Shirva, near Mangalore.

"More than that, we do not know, about what actually happened.

"She is dead, that's all. Jacintha was a very caring woman. She used to call us every Sunday without fail. We just cannot believe what has happened."

Celin D'Souza, her sister-in-law, said: "I will really miss her a lot. She was a good-natured sister-in-law. I cannot forget her; she was so good.

"She was beautiful. Jacintha and Benedict looked great together. Their son is also adorable."

Saldanha had been a diligent student who had, after school, gone to medical school to train as a nurse.

She registered as a nurse in 2003 , initially working for the North Bristol NHS Trust.

She switched jobs four years ago to work at the King Edward VII Hospital, living in nurses' accommodation and commuting home at the end of her shifts.

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