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Radio pranksters saddened by nurse’s death

SYDNEY — The Australian radio hosts at the centre of the royal hospital hoax say they are “gutted and heartbroken” over the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha.

Saldanha was found dead on Friday, three days after taking the hoax call.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian wept as they said “not a minute goes by where we don’t think about her family”.

They had pretended to be members of the Royal Family asking about the Duchess of Cambridge, who was being treated in hospital for acute morning sickness.

In an interview for Channel Nine’s A Current Affair programme Christian told presenter Tracy Grimshaw: “When we thought about making a call it was going to go for 30 seconds we were going to be hung up on, and that was it. As innocent as that.”

Greig said: “We thought a hundred people before us would’ve tried it. We thought it was such a silly idea and the accents were terrible and not for a second did we expect to speak to Kate let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on.”

The pair said they heard about Saldanha’s death in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“It was the worst phone call I’ve ever had in my life,” said Greig.

Asked what his immediate reaction had been, Christian wept and said: “Shattered, gutted, heartbroken and obviously you know. Our deepest sympathies are with the family and the friends.”

Greig said: “There’s not a minute that goes by where we don’t think about her family and what they must be going through, and the thought that we may have played a part in that is gut-wrenching.” (BBC)

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