Two Australian DJs who made a hoax call about the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy came out of hiding yesterday to claim they were ‘gutted, shattered and heartbroken’ after the nurse they tricked was found dead days later.
Mel Greig (30), and Michael Christian (25), who work for Sydney radio station 2Day FM, said they were devastated and wanted to apologise to the family of mother-of-two Jacintha Saldanha.
“The first thing I asked was: ‘Was she a mother?’” an emotional Greig said. “If we played any involvement in her death then we’re very sorry for that. We couldn’t foresee what was going to happen in the future.”
The incredibly sorry pair have been in hiding since Saldanha who worked at King Edward VII Hospital was found dead — 72 hours after the hoax call took place.
The duo recounted how they found about news of Saldanha’s death, with Greig saying, “It was the worst phone call I have ever had in my life.”
The DJ added: “There’s not a minute that goes by that we don’t think about her family and what they must be going through. And the thought we may have played a part in that is gut wrenching.”
She said she wanted to ‘reach out’ to the Saldanha’s family to ‘give them a big hug and say sorry’ — and Christian added: “I don’t think that anyone could have predicted what could’ve happened.”
The DJs were attempting to reach Kate, who was admitted to hospital with severe morning sickness after it was revealed she was pregnant.
Saldanha put the call through to Kate’s ward at the King Edward VII Hospital, where an unnamed colleague gave details of the Duchess’s treatment for severe morning sickness.
The pair said they believed they would never get past the switchboard and wanted to be hung up on.
Instead, to their astonishment, they fooled experienced nurse Saldanha into putting them through to the nurse treating the Duchess of Cambridge.
Christian said he hoped Saldanha’s family get the love, support and care that they need. They are both receiving counselling in case they attempt self harm.
Meanwhile, the boss of the radio station said that his staff had tried to call King Edward VII Hospital five times before the hoax was aired.
Rhys Holleran, chief executive officer of Austereo, said his team had attempted to contact the hospital to discuss what had been recorded before it went out on the radio.
Greig added that she said phoning the hospital was such a silly idea and not for a second did they expect to speak to Kate or anyone else at the hospital.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the tragedy showed ‘just how passionately nurses care about their duty’.
“I think the tragedy here was partly because that individual nurse did feel so awful about what had happened,” he told Sky News.