Memorial mass in London for hoax call nurse

Monday 17 December 2012 11.41
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Jacintha Saldanha transferred prank call at London Hospital
Jacintha Saldanha transferred prank call at London Hospital
The family of Jacintha Saldanha attended a mass at Westminster Cathedral
The family of Jacintha Saldanha attended a mass at Westminster Cathedral

A memorial mass has been held in London for a nurse who was found dead days after she had answered a hoax call from two Australian radio presenters.

Jacintha Saldanha, who worked at King Edward VII Hospital, transferred the call from the presenters - who impersonated Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles - to a nurse caring for the Duchess of Cambridge.

Yesterday, after a private memorial service for Ms Saldanha at the hospital, its chief executive John Lofthouse said the nurse was reassured on a number of occasions by senior management after the hoax.

Mr Lofthouse said was Ms Saldanha, who is from Bristol, was the victim of a "cruel trick", after which senior staff did not blame her and offered her time off and counselling.

He was writing in reply to MP Keith Vaz, who stated that Ms Saldanha's family needed to know the "full facts" of what happened.

Mr Lofthouse said: "Jacintha believed that the call was genuine and she felt it appropriate to put the call through. We stand by her judgment".

Mr Lofthouse added that "following the hoax call, Jacintha was reassured on a number of occasions by senior management that no blame was attached to her actions and that there were no disciplinary issues involved, because she had been the victim of a cruel trick."

Mr Lofthouse said she was offered a range of support after the hoax, including time off, but decided to continue working.

He wrote: "Jacintha said that she would prefer to continue working. Neither ourselves, her friends or family noticed anything to give cause for concern."

The DJs behind the hoax call - Mel Greig and Michael Christian - have given an account of their reaction to Ms Saldanha's death.

Interviewed on Australian TV networks, the presenters said their prank call to the hospital prompted "a tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected".

Southern Cross Austereo, the parent company of 2Day FM, has ended the pair's Hot 30 show and suspended prank calls across the company.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced an investigation into the broadcast.