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Inquest: Nurse in British royal hoax found hanging
Question of the Day
LONDON (AP) — A nurse duped by a hoax call from Australian disc jockeys about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was found hanging in her room and left three notes, a coroner’s inquest was told Thursday.
Coroner’s officer Lynda Martindill said nurseJacintha Saldanha was discovered hanging by a scarf from a wardrobe in her nurses quarters on Friday by a colleague and a member of the security staff at London’s King Edward VII Hospital. She also had injuries to her wrists.
Ms. Martindill said an attempt to revive Mrs. Saldanha failed. The case is being treated as an apparent suicide.
Police Detective Chief Inspector James Harman said Mrs. 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 among Mrs. Saldanha’s belongings. He said there were no suspicious circumstances, meaning nobody else was involved in Mrs. Saldanha’s death.
Inspector Harman said that 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.
He also said detectives would be contacting police in the Australian state of New South Wales to collect “relevant evidence.”
Mrs. Saldanha answered the phone last week when two Australian disc jockeys called to seek information about the duchess, the former Kate Middleton, who was being treated for severe morning sickness. The DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, and Mrs. Saldanha was tricked into transferring the call to a nurse caring for the duchess, who revealed private details about her condition.
The DJs, 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 indefinitely.
Australia’s media watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, said Thursday it was launching an official investigation into whether radio station 2DayFM breached its broadcasting license conditions and the industry code of practice.
Coroner Fiona Wilcox adjourned Mrs. Saldanha’s inquest until March 26.
Ms. 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 or violently or in disputed circumstances. Inquests do not determine criminal liability or apportion blame.
Mrs. Saldanha, who was born in India, lived in Bristol in southwestern England with her husband and two teenage children.
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.”
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