Australian police said on Sunday they had been contacted by the London Metropolitan Police after a nurse who had taken a prank call to a London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated, was found dead.

“The London Metropolitan Police have made contact with New South Wales Police, and it’s been a request forwarded through the Australian Federal Police, simply to notify us of their interest in the matter,” said Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas of the New South Wales Police Force.

“They haven’t actually asked us to do anything yet, but we’ve certainly opened up the lines of communication and obviously we’re happy to assist in any way we can. It’s a bit of a tragic set of circumstances. Our condolences obviously go out to the family.”

Two presenters from Australia’s 2DayFM radio station called the hospital early on Tuesday British time.

The presenters were put through to the ward where Kate was being treated and were given details about how she was faring.
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha had answered the call as there were no receptionists on duty, and had passed it to a nurse on the ward. Saldanha, who had worked at the hospital for four years, had not been facing any disciplinary action, a source said. She was found dead on Friday in an apparent suicide.

“All I can say at the moment is that it’s been indicated that the London Metropolitan Police may wish to speak to the people involved in the matter from 2DayFM,” Kaldas told reporters. “But we haven’t been asked to do anything yet, and we certainly have not been asked to interview anyone, or line up any interviews for the Met.”

A spokeswoman for the station’s parent company, Southern Cross Austereo, told Reuters the two presenters involved in the prank were very distressed. They were being looked after by family and were receiving counselling.

She said the presenters have not received a request for a police interview.

“In any deaths such as this one, obviously, the police will have to prepare a coroner’s brief,” Kaldas said.

“As part of that preparation, they really need to get the full set of circumstances about everything that happened or may have had an impact on causing the death. And out of that, it would be perfectly normal for the police to cover off on this aspect and get as much detail as they can to present to the coroner on the matter. So, I don’t see anything unusual in the request, and when we’re asked to assist in some way we obviously will try to facilitate whatever assistance we can for the Metropolitan Police.”

Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) held an emergency board meeting on Sunday and sent a letter in response to one from King Edward VII’s Hospital’s chairman, Lord Simon Glenarthur, which condemned the radio prank.

“We are all saddened by the events of the last few days. They are truly tragic,” chairman Max Moore-Wilton says in the letter.

“We can assure you that we will be fully cooperative with all investigations … We are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast and processes involved.

SCA’s CEO Rhys Holleran addresses the death of Jacintha Saldanha in the video below.


—With files from CityNews.ca