London: A nurse was found hanging in her room three days after she had been duped by a hoax call from Australian DJs about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, a U.K. inquest was told. The case is being treated as an apparent suicide.
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was discovered hanging by a scarf from a wardrobe in her nurses' quarters Dec. 7 by a colleague and a member of security staff at London's King Edward VII Hospital, coroner's officer Lynda Martindill said Thursday.
Martindill said an attempt to revive Saldanha failed.
Police detective chief inspector James Harman said Saldanha, 46, also had injuries to her wrists.
He told the inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court that two notes were found at the scene and another was found among Saldanha's belongings. He said there were no suspicious circumstances, meaning nobody else was involved in Saldanha's death.
Harman said police were examining the notes, interviewing the nurse's friends, family and colleagues and looking at emails and phone calls to establish what led to her death. "In one of the notes she is believed to criticise colleagues at the King Edward VII hospital over her treatment following the prank call," the Daily Mail reported.
He also said detectives would be contacting police in the Australian state of New South Wales to collect "relevant evidence."
Saldanha answered the phone last week when two Australian disc jockeys called seeking information about the former Kate Middleton, who was being treated for severe morning sickness. The DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, and Saldanha was tricked into transferring the call to another nurse, who revealed private details about the duchess' condition.
The DJs, 2DayFM's Mel Greig and Michael Christian, apologized for the prank in emotional interviews on Australian television, saying they never expected their call would be put through. The show was taken off the air and the DJs have been suspended.
New South Wales state police said Friday that they were investigating a letter sent to the station that made several threats against the DJs. Police declined to release details of the letter.
"The safety of our employees is an absolute priority," 2DayFM's parent company Southern Cross Austereo said in a statement. "We have sensible measures in place, as we always do, to ensure our people are safe. This is now a matter for the police, and we trust they will investigate any specific threats that emerge."
The Australian Communications and Media Authority is investigating whether radio station 2DayFM breached its broadcasting license conditions and the industry code of practice.
In London, coroner Fiona Wilcox opened and adjourned Saldanha's inquest until March 26.
Wilcox expressed "my sympathies to her family and everybody who has been touched by this tragic death."
In Britain, inquests are held to determine the facts whenever someone dies unexpectedly, violently or in disputed circumstances. Inquests do not determine criminal liability or apportion blame.
The local authority, Westminster Council, said Saldanha's body was released to her family after Thursday's hearing.
Saldanha, who was born in India, lived in Bristol in southwestern England with her husband and two teenage children. Her husband, Benedict Barboza, has said she will be laid to rest in Shirva, India.
The family was not in court. Lawmaker Keith Vaz, who has spoken on their behalf, said the nurse's loved ones "need time to grieve."
Vaz said a memorial Mass would be held Saturday at London's Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral.
Oz radio station staff receive death threats over nurse death
The staff of an Australian radio station, whose DJs made a prank call to a UK hospital that led to the death of an Indian-origin nurse, have received death threats, prompting some of them to move to safehouses.
About a dozen staff of Sydney-based 2DayFM radio station have been moved into safehouses and up to 10 executives have been assigned bodyguards following death threats against them, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The station management has recruited 24-hour security to guard the staff and the safehouse venue, costing the company an estimated USD 75,000 a week, the report said.
The development came after a threat letter was received on Thursday against Michael Christian, one of the DJs whose prank call led to the death of 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha.
The letter, which came from South Australia, stated "bullets out there with your (Christian's) name on it". Further unreportable threats involving a shotgun were also made. The letter was seized by detectives for examination.
Australian police have initiated a probe into the death threats and have spoken with the Southern Cross Austereo's employees about security and other matters and are also monitoring social media for other threats, the paper said.
The company which runs 2Day FM radio station has been under severe criticism after Mel Greig and Christian posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles made the call which was received by Saldanha at London's King Edward VII Hospital.
She put them through to a colleague who divulged details of the pregnant Princes Kate's health conditions. Saldanha was subsequently found dead.
Meanwhile, the company said it was preparing at the long-haul, with specialist security expected to be in place for several weeks or months.
"We still have details to come from the hospital and the release of the suicide note. Depending on what comes from that could trigger more anger," the paper reported quoting a source.