Family 'devastated' by nurse death
The family of a nurse who apparently committed suicide after she was duped by a hoax call made to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge "miss her every moment of every day," MP Keith Vaz said.
Flanked by Jacintha Saldanha's husband Benedict Barboza and her two teenage children, the politician said they had been left "devastated" by the loss of a "loving mother and a loving wife".
The nurse had been fooled by two Australian radio hosts into believing they were the Queen and Prince of Wales during the prank call made last Tuesday to the King Edward VII's Hospital in London. Ms Saldanha, 46, from Bristol was found dead on Friday in what appeared to be a suspected suicide.
The nurse's brother Naveen told the Daily Mail his sister was a devout Roman Catholic and would have been "devastated" by her unwitting role in the breach of medical confidentiality.
After meeting the family in Parliament, Mr Vaz, who earlier criticised the hospital for not providing Mr Barboza and his children enough support, spoke briefly outside the Commons on their behalf. He said: "They just want me to say that they are extremely grateful to the public here in the United Kingdom and throughout the world who have sent them messages of condolences and support following the death of Jacintha - a loving mother and a loving wife."
"This is a close family. They are devastated by what has happened. They miss her every moment of every day but they are really grateful to the support of the British public and to the public overseas for the messages of support and kindness."
The two Australian DJs behind the hoax call - Mel Greig and Michael Christian - gave an emotional account of their reaction to the nurse's death. Interviewed on Australian TV networks they said they had been left "gutted, shattered, heartbroken".
A tearful Greig, who was at times comforted by Christian, told Today Tonight on Australia's Channel Seven: "There's nothing that can make me feel worse than what I feel right now. And for what I feel for the family. We're so sorry that this has happened to them."
Ms Saldanha's family visited the King Edward VII's Hospital on Monday night, while a memorial service in her honour will be held later this week. "A senior member of staff is comforting the family and offering assistance and will continue to do so for as long as needed," John Lofthouse, the hospital's chief executive, said.
"Today we have also established the Jacintha Saldanha Memorial Fund. There has been an overwhelming outpouring of support for the family from around the world, and this fund will enable people to make a donation. The fund will go to helping Jacintha's husband and children at this terrible time."