Indian-origin nurse blamed herself in royal hoax case
India-born nurse Jacintha Saldanha, found hanging at a hospital here days after receiving a hoax call about Kate Middleton's first pregnancy, blamed herself for releasing intimate details about the Dutchess's condition.
London: India-born nurse Jacintha Saldanha, found hanging at a hospital here days after receiving a hoax call about Kate Middleton's first pregnancy, blamed herself for releasing intimate details about the Dutchess's condition.
An inquest into her death at the Royal Courts of Justice in London was told that the 46-year-old mother of two had sent distressed emails addressed to her colleagues insisting "it's all my fault".
Saldanha, originally from Mangalore in Karnataka, was found dead in the nursing accommodation of King Edward VII hospital days after staff were tricked into revealing details of Kate Middleton's pregnancy to two Australian radio DJs posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles back in December 2012.
She had answered the call and transferred it on to the duty nurse on the Duchess of Cambridge's ward.
She later wrote to the nurse who had been looking after the Duchess on the night of the prank to apologise for putting the call through to her.
"I am terribly sorry for transferring the call to you. At that moment, in the time, with that voice, I couldn't even think of anything else," she wrote.
"It's all my fault and I feel very bad about this and getting you involved. Please accept my apologies. If there was anything I could do to mend it, I would do it but it's all in their hands.
"I am very upset and don't know what to do, things are all going in the wrong direction for me at the moment," she added.
In the message, sent the day after the prank call, she went on: "Please blame me for this, I accept the fault is mine. I should have checked before I gave the call to you so it was my fault. I can only say sorry -? please accept my apologies."
Saldanha told other colleagues she had believed the prank was a genuine call from the Queen.
The Duchess was being treated for acute morning sickness when DJs Melissa Greig and Michael Christian called the hospital pretending to be the Queen.
The inquest also heard how Saldanha had shown no previous
signs of mental illness or depression.
Her husband, Benedict Barboza, told the court his wife had never given him any cause for concern and?said her death came as a "complete shock".
Saldanha was the night nurse-in-charge of the three-ward private hospital on December 4, 2012 when the call was made, and her duties included answering the phone as no receptionist was on duty at night.
Matron Caroline Cassells said she tried to reassure Saldanha and there had been no mention of disciplinary action.
Though both nurses had breached protocol, "we felt it was a nasty trick".
She broke down on the stand as she described receiving Saldanha's email, the day before she was found, and said she had not had time to reply to it.
One of the DJs, Mel Greig, has flown down to attend the inquest and offered to give evidence.
The coroner, however, declined the offer, saying any evidence she could give about Saldanha's demeanour during the call was not relevant.
She thanked Greig for her attendance, saying: "I understand Ms Greig may feel she has been unfairly blamed for the events that followed the hoax call and for this she has my sympathy."