09:20 EST 7 December 2012
The boss of the radio company at the centre of the royal hoax call today refused to sack the DJs behind the stunt and painted them as victims.
2DayFM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian were taken off air after it emerged the nurse who took their prank call at Kate Middleton’s hospital had died in a suspected suicide.
Jacintha Saldanha, a 46-year-old mother of two, had been manning the hospital switchboard when the Australian hoaxers called and she transferred the call to the Duchess of Cambridge’s ward.
Rhys Holleran, the chief executive of Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the station, said the presenters were ‘completely shattered’ and had been offered counselling.
His comments were made before King Edward VII hospital said they had sent a letter of complaint to the company about the ‘truly appalling’ prank earlier today.
Lord Glenarthur, chairman of the hospital, said that he wanted to ‘protest’ against the prank and seek assurances that the station would never do anything similar again.
Mr Holleran told a press conference in Melbourne that the primary concern was for the family of Jacintha Saldanha, whose body was found yards from the King Edward VII Hospital yesterday.
He said: ‘I spoke to both presenters early this morning and it’s fair to say they are completely shattered.
‘These people aren’t machines, they’re human beings. What happened is incredibly tragic and we’re deeply saddened and we’re incredibly affected by that.’
He added: ‘I think prank calls as a craft in radio have been going for decades and decades and are not just part of one radio station or network or country.
‘No-one could have reasonably foreseen what ended up being an incredibly tragic day.’
Mr Holleran declined to reveal who had dreamed up the prank call but said: ‘These things are often done collaboratively.’
A source confirmed that 2DayFM’s lawyers had listened to audio of the entire call and had given it clearance to go to air.
Mr Holleran said it was ‘a bit early’ to be drawing conclusions from what was really a ‘deeply tragic matter.’
He added: ‘I don’t think anyone could have reasonably foreseen that this was going to be a result.’
This evening, the grieving husband of nurse Mrs Saldanha has told of his devastation at her death.
Benedict Barboza, a 49-year-old hospital accountant, also known as Ben, posted a tribute to Mrs Saldanha on his Facebook page.
He wrote: ‘I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances, She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India.’
Mrs Saldanha found herself at the centre of the controversy after answering the DJs’ call, when they obtained intimate details about Kate Middleton’s condition by posing as the Queen and Prince Charles.
The grieving family of the ‘excellent’ nurse said: ‘We as a family are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha.’
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
25554932 2192681 64
his path of destiny = 64 = Misfortune. This sucks. Deep sadness.
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