Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Prank DJ to appear at nurse inquest

Jacintha Saldanha was found dead three days after answering a prank call at London's King Edward VII's Hospital

An Australian DJ who made a prank call to the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated will give evidence at the inquest of a nurse who took the call.

Mel Greig wants to "address any questions" surrounding her role in the run-up to the death of Jacintha Saldanha at the inquest, which was due to take place this week, but will now happen on September 12.

Ms Saldanha was found dead in nurses' quarters three days after she answered a call from 2Day FM DJs Michael Christian and Ms Greig at central London's King Edward VII's Hospital, where Kate was being treated for severe morning sickness in December.

The mother-of-two, from Bristol, answered the phone and put the pair through to a colleague who gave details of the Duchess's condition. Ms Saldanha's death three days later sparked a worldwide backlash against the DJs.

An inquest was originally scheduled for this Thursday, but a spokeswoman from Westminster Coroner's Court confirmed it has been adjourned until September 12 and 13, but could not confirm what the exact reason for the adjournment was.

Ms Greig has confirmed through lawyers that she will give evidence at the inquest, although it is not yet known whether she will attend in person or appear via videolink.

A statement from her lawyers Slater & Gordon said: "Ms Saldanha's suicide was a devastating tragedy and Ms Greig's thoughts have been with the family ever since. Ms Greig fully understands their need for answers, which is why she has taken this step to appear as an individual at the inquest.

"She is determined to address any questions surrounding her role in these tragic events as part of the inquest. Ms Greig wants the family to know she will answer any questions the coroner or the family's lawyers may have at the inquest."

Coroner Fiona Wilcox has granted anonymity to a duty nurse who may have been one of the last people to speak with Ms Saldanha on the night of the call. The inquest is also set to hear from security staff and police who can give details about the scene of the death. One of several notes left at the scene is reported to have blamed the radio presenters directly. It has also been reported that the nurse had previously attempted suicide.

Speaking on behalf of her family, MP Keith Vaz said: "The family of Jacintha Saldanha welcome the latest development concerning the application by the Australian DJ Mel Greig to appear before the inquest. This will now allow the coroner to explore the role of the DJs in Jacintha's tragic death."

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