Royal prank-call DJs 'gutted and heartbroken' over death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha

Mel Greig and her colleague Michael Christian talk about the moment they were informed of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha

The radio DJs behind the royal hospital hoax have told an Australian television programme they are “gutted and heartbroken” over the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha.

The pair were speaking in two emotional interviews conducted with Australian networks.

During the recordings DJ Mel Greig and her colleague, Michael Christian,  spoke of the moment they heard that Jacintha Saldanha had died.

Greig said: ”Unfortunately I remember that moment very well because I haven't stopped thinking about it since it happened.

“I remember my first question was: 'Was she a mother?'.

”I have thought about this a million times in my head, that I just wanted to reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say sorry.

“I hope they are OK, I really do.”

Her colleague, Michael Christian, added: “I just hope that they get the love, the support, the care that they need.”

In an interview on the Nine Network, the DJs said they had never expected their call would get through to the Duchess's ward.

Greig said: "Not for a second did we expect to speak to anyone. We expected to be hung up on."

The pair said their concern now was for the family of Ms Saldanha.

Greig said: "I wanted to just reach out to them and to give them a big hug and say sorry.

"Not a minute goes by that we don't think about the family and what they are going through, and the thought we may have played a part is gut-wrenching."

Christian said: "It was something that was just fun and light-hearted and a tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected.

"We are shattered, heartbroken and our deepest sympathy goes to the family, friends and all those people affected.

"Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what's happened."

In an interview with Channel Nine's A Current Affair programme Ms Greig said: "We thought a hundred people before us would've tried it. We thought it was such a silly idea and the accents were terrible and not for a second did we expect to speak to Kate let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on.''

The two DJs managed to trick two nurses at London's King Edward VII's Hospital into believing they were receiving a call from the Queen.

Mother of two Ms Saldanha, 46, who took the initial phone-call before putting the pair through to a colleague, was found dead on Friday in what appears to be a suspected suicide.

Greig and Christian, DJs on the station 2Day FM, were quizzed about the incident today on the Australian TV programmes A Current Affair and Today Tonight.

They pulled out of a third interview they were meant to do because they were unwell, according to a spokesman for the TV channel.

In a statement, the radio station's owner, Southern Cross Austero Media, said it had suspended advertising on 2Day FM until further notice, ended Greig and Christian's Hot 30 show and suspended prank calls across the company.

The statement also said that attempts had been made to contact the hospital before the hoax was broadcast, adding that it believed no laws had been broken.

The statement said: “Several attempts were made by the production team to discuss the segment with the hospital, but with no success. The segment was referred to an internal review process which included internal legal review and authorisation was granted to broadcast.

"The company does not consider that the broadcast of the segment has breached any relevant law, regulation or code. The company will fully co-operate with any investigations."

A spokeswoman for the King Edward VII's Hospital said today: "Following the hoax call, the radio station did not speak to anyone in the hospital's senior management or anyone at the company that handles our media inquiries."

Jacintha Saldanha’s brother Naveen today told the Daily Mail newspaper that his devoutly Catholic sister was a ‘proper and righteous person’, and that would have been ‘devastated’ at unwittingly helping a colleague breach medical confidentiality.

"She would have felt much shame about the incident," he told the Mail.

Ms Saldanha's husband, Ben Barboza, has written a tribute to his wife on his Facebook page.

“I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances.”

“She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India.”

Commenting earlier on Sky News, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "It just show shows how passionately nurses care about doing their duty.

"I think it's really important to remember that the vast majority of nurses do a brilliant job and really care passionately about doing the right thing, and I think the real tragedy here was partly because that individual nurse did feel so awful about what happened."

Asked what lessons needed to be learned, he said: "I think we need to make sure that the right safeguards are in place, that the right training is in place, but I think it's too early for me to say whether this is something which is just an individual prank that went horribly wrong and it was an isolated breach or whether there are more widespread issues.

"My instinct is that this was an isolated incident with very exceptional circumstances."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions