Nurse death: Mass to be held at Westminster Cathedral for Jacintha Saldanha
09:56 15 December 2012
Westminster Cathedral will hold a mass today for the nurse who was found dead after answering a prank call from two Australian radio DJs.
Mother-of-two Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found hanging in her nurses’ quarters at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London by a colleague and a security guard last Friday.
The nurse transferred the 2Day FM DJs, believing they were the Queen and Prince of Wales, to a colleague who described in detail the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge during her hospital stay for severe pregnancy sickness.
The mass will be offered “for the repose of the soul of Jacintha and her grieving family”, a spokesman for the Cathedral said.
“We would hope to hold a more formal memorial after the inquest has concluded,” he added.
A provisional date of March 26 has been set for the next inquest hearing.
Yesterday, after a private memorial service for Ms Saldanha at the hospital, its chief executive John Lofthouse said the nurse was reassured on a number of occasions by senior management after the hoax.
Mr Lofthouse said was Ms Saldanha, who is from Bristol, was the victim of a “cruel trick”, after which senior staff did not blame her and offered her time off and counselling.
Writing in reply to MP Keith Vaz, who stated that Ms Saldanha’s family needed to know the “full facts” of what happened, Mr Lofthouse said: “Jacintha believed that the call was genuine and she felt it appropriate to put the call through. We stand by her judgment.
“Following the hoax call, Jacintha was reassured on a number of occasions by senior management that no blame was attached to her actions and that there were no disciplinary issues involved, because she had been the victim of a cruel trick.”
Indian-born Ms Saldanha, whose body was identified by her accountant husband Benedict Barboza, was also found with marks on her wrist, Westminster Coroner’s Court in London heard on Thursday.
The DJs behind the hoax call - Mel Greig and Michael Christian - have given an emotional account of their reaction to Ms Saldanha’s death.
Interviewed on Australian TV networks, the presenters said their prank call to the hospital prompted “a tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected”.