Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Prank call nurse inquest date set

DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig who will be granted interested party status at the inquest
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found dead after taking a hoax phone call about the Duchess of Cambridge (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The inquest into the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who answered a hoax call about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, will be heard on May 2-3.

After a hearing in which Coroner Fiona Wilcox announced the inquest will take place at the Council House Chambers in Marylebone, London, Ms Saldanha's family said they were devastated by her death.

Her husband Benedict Barboza, teenage daughter Lisha and son Junal stood quietly as MP Keith Vaz spoke on their behalf outside on the steps of Westminster Coroner's Court.

He said: "Today marks the beginning of the end as far as the legal process is concerned but it does not take away the terrible grief the family are still suffering.

"The next few weeks are going to be very difficult for the family until May 2 when, of course, the inquest will begin. Both children have very important exams which they wish to concentrate on."

Mr Vaz said: "These have been dreadful, dreadful weeks and months for them. They will never, ever come to terms with the death of Jacintha who they loved so much, but they hope this process will begin the healing process."

Australian DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig sparked worldwide outrage in December when they were put through to Kate's ward after phoning King Edward VII's Hospital, posing as the Prince of Wales and the Queen. The Duchess was receiving care at the central London hospital for a rare form of pregnancy sickness when Mr Christian and Ms Greig made the prank call.

Ms Saldanha, a mother of two from Bristol, answered the phone and put the pair through to a colleague who detailed the Duchess's condition. Her body was found in nurses' quarters three days later which led to an international backlash against the 2Day FM DJs.

Anonymity for a duty nurse who was on call that day was granted at the pre-inquest review into the death of Ms Saldanha. John Cooper QC, for the family, also asked whether for the terms of Ms Saldanha's employment contract it would have been relevant to see "why Ms Saldanha was placed in a position in a matron office to be receiving calls".

The Coroner said that "things that might have affected Ms Saldanha's mind" would be relevant but there had to be limits about how far back the evidence could be taken.

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