Prank call radio station to donate funds to nurse’s family
By Laura Smith-Spark and Marilia Brocchetto, (CNN) — The Australian radio station which made a prank call to a UK hospital that apparently resulted in the death of a nurse said Tuesday that it would donate at least 500,000 Australian dollars (US$524,000) to a fund for the nurse’s family.
Jacintha Saldanha apparently committed suicide after being duped by the prank call from two DJs seeking information on Prince William’s pregnant wife, Catherine.
The Sydney-based 2DayFM radio station has come under heavy fire over the hoax call.
The media group which owns 2DayFM said it would resume advertising on the station — halted in the wake of the tragedy — beginning Thursday, with all profits until the end of the year going to “an appropriate fund” that would directly benefit Saldanha’s family and a minimum contribution of 500,000 Australian dollars.
“We hope that by contributing to a memorial fund we can help to provide the Saldanha family with the support they need at this very difficult time.”
Saldanha put through a call from the DJs to a nurse on the ward at King Edward VII’s Hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for acute morning sickness early last Tuesday.
The 46-year-old nurse was found dead three days later in living quarters in central London provided by her workplace. She left a husband and two children.
An autopsy will be carried out Tuesday in Westminster, London’s Metropolitan Police said.
King Edward VII’s Hospital said Monday that it was setting up a fund in Saldanha’s name.
“She was an outstanding nurse whose loss has shocked and saddened everyone at the hospital,” said chairman Lord Glenarthur. “Following discussions with her family, we have now established the Jacintha Saldanha Memorial Fund in her memory.”
Many donations have already been made from around the world, he said, and the hospital would “certainly welcome” a contribution from Southern Cross Austereo.
The two DJs, who impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles in the hoax call, made tearful apologies on Monday for what had happened.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian, both crying at times, told two Australian television shows that their thoughts were with Saldanha’s family.
“I’m very sorry and saddened for the family, and I can’t imagine what they’ve been going through,” Greig said on the program “Today Tonight.”
Christian described himself as “gutted, shattered and heartbroken.”
“For the part we played, we’re incredibly sorry,” Christian said on “Today Tonight.”
Both have said that they never expected the call to go through.
They also stressed Monday that while they made the call to the hospital, they did not have a say on whether it went to air. The call was recorded and then went through a vetting process at their network, Southern Cross Austereo, before it was broadcast, they said.
Holleran last week said he was “deeply saddened” by the nurse’s death but defended the legality of the station’s action, saying he was “very confident that we haven’t done anything illegal.”
The Australian Communications and Media Authority, the country’s media regulator, has said it will be “engaging with” the radio station “around the facts and issues surrounding the prank call.”
CNN’s Laura Perez-Maestro contributed to this report.
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.