Nurse’s body flown back to India as thousands tipped to attend funeral

Husband and two children pay tribute to a 'kind-hearted, generous woman'

Delhi

Up to 5,000 people are tomorrow due to attend the funeral of the Indian nurse who took her own life after receiving a prank call from radio DJs trying to reach the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge.

The body of Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was today returned to southern India a week after she hanged herself in the aftermath of a call from two Australian radio DJs posing as British royals to the hospital where the Duchess was admitted during the early stages of her pregnancy.

This weekend, the nurse’s husband, 14-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son paid tribute to a “loving wife and mother”, whose death following what the hospital described as a “cruel trick”, had left them bereft.

“We will miss your laughter, the loving memories and the good times we had together. The house is an empty dwelling without your presence,” her daughter Lisha said, according to a report by the AFP. “We love you Mum.”

Members of the family are expected to attend the funeral at the Our Lady of Health Church in Shirva, near Mangalore, among them her husband, Benedict Barboza, 49, and the couple’s two children.

“Jacintha’s body is expected to arrive in Mangalore on Sunday afternoon,” said Mangalore police commissioner Manish Kardikar.

Last week, an inquest was told that Ms Saldanha, a nurse at the King Edward VII hospital, had been found hanged in staff accommodation on December 7.

A few days earlier, the nurse put the prank call from the Australian radio station through to a colleague, who relayed details about the princess’s intense  morning sickness.

In the aftermath of the event, an inquest heard that Ms Saldanha left three notes, at least one of which reportedly criticised her colleagues over her treatment at he hospital in the aftermath of what happened.  In contrast, the hospital has defended itself, saying it offered support to Ms Saldanha and in no way put pressure on her.

Today, Ms Saldanha’s husband and children were surrounded by crowds of the media when they arrived in Mangalore from the UK. They were hurried into waiting cars and did not speak.

In London, Mr Barboza and two children Junal and Lisha paid an emotional tribute to a “kind-hearted, generous and well-respected woman”. Fighting back tears, Mr Barboza said: “My wife, you were the light in my darkness, who always showed me the way forward. From the day we met, you always stood by me in times of hardship and happiness.”

He added: “I feel a part of me has been ripped out. Without your beautiful smile and sparkling personality, the house is an empty place to live. Nineteen years of togetherness with a strong bond of affection and understanding will be cherished forever in my life.”

Over the weekend, dozens of Indian students marched to the British High Commission in Delhi on Saturday, calling for a probe into what they claimed was a “mysterious death”. The demonstrators carried banners demanding “Justice for Jacintha” and alleged that “as a person of Indian origin she was isolated, victimised and subjected to harassment by the authorities”.

Australian police have said death threats have been made against Michael Christian and Mel Greig, the DJs from Sydney's 2Day FM radio station who made the call. The presenters made tearful apologies last week.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago