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Duchess of Cambridge hoax call nurse found dead in suspected suicide
A NURSE at the private hospital which treated the Duchess of Cambridge has died in a suspected suicide – two days after being duped by a hoax call from an Australian radio station.
Jacintha Saldanha was found an address near the King Edward VII Hospital in London this morning.
The hospital said in a statement: ''We can confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha.
''Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and a well-respected and popular member of staff with all her colleagues.
''We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital has been supporting her at this difficult time.''
The nurse’s body was found just before 9.30am today.
Paramedics were unable to revive her and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police are treating the death as “unexplained”. The exact cause of death remained unclear.
Two days earlier the nurse took a phone call from DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, in which she gave personal medical details about the Duchess’ condition.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are ''deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha'', St James's Palace said today.
The palace added in a statement: ''Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.''
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ''This is tragic news, and the thoughts of all at the Royal College of Nursing go to the family of Jacintha Saldanha.
''It is deeply saddening that a simple human error due to a cruel hoax could lead to the death of a dedicated and caring member of the nursing profession.''
The DJs made their call at around 5.30am on Tuesday and are thought to have been put through to Ms Saldanha, 46.
The nurse told them: ''She's sleeping at the moment and she has had an uneventful night and sleep is good for her.
''She's been given some fluids to rehydrate her because she was quite dehydrated when she came in but she's stable at the moment.''
The nurse added: ''She hasn't had any retching with me since I've been on duty and she has been sleeping on and off. I think it's difficult sleeping in a strange bed as well.''
The prank call was deeply embarrassing for the hospital, which is the medical institution of choice for the Royal Family.
Mr Lofthouse said on Tuesday: ''I've received advice that what the Australian broadcasters did may well have broken the law. On the other hand they've apologised for it so we're going to have a long and careful think about what, if anything, we do.''
The prank call was pre-recorded and vetted by lawyers before being broadcast to listeners in Sydney.
In their initial apology the two presenters said: ''We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we'd be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents.
''We're very sorry if we've caused any issues and we're glad to hear that Kate is doing well.''
The royals have been the target of hoax callers before.
In 1995 Canadian DJ Pierre Brassard, pretending to be Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, was put through to the Queen.
The pair spoke for around 15 minutes and he even managed to elicit a promise that she would try to influence Quebec's referendum on proposals to break away from Canada.