Royal hoax call: Body of nurse Jacintha Saldanha reaches India

Royal hoax call: Body of nurse Jacintha Saldanha reaches India
Mangalore:  The body of an Indian-born nurse who was found hanged after taking a hoax call to the hospital treating Prince William's wife arrived in Mangalore on Sunday following a memorial mass in London.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, apparently committed suicide after answering the prank telephone call from two Australian radio DJs to the hospital where Catherine was admitted during the early stages of her pregnancy.

Saldanha's funeral is expected to take place on Monday near Mangalore in Shirva, the home town of her husband Benedict Barboza, who accompanied her body on Sunday's flight to India along with their son, 16, and daughter, 14.

"Jacintha and her family, they were working in the UK to earn their daily bread," Stany Tauro, priest of the Our Lady of Health Church in Shirva, told AFP. "The community is sad over the death."

He said locals were proud that she had been a successful nurse who worked in a hospital where the British royal family were treated, but that many were shocked at the tragedy.

Tauro said residents would be able to pay their final respects to the body before the service of mass scheduled at 4:00pm (1030 GMT) and the burial ceremony.

C. Mutthiah, deputy commissioner of police in Mangalore, confirmed the body had landed in Mangalore, while a family source told AFP that it would be kept in a mortuary overnight and taken to Shirva on Monday.

Saldanha's frail mother lives along with her other daughter and a son in Mangalore, 360 kilometres (220 miles) from Bangalore, the state capital of Karnataka.

"I feel very sorry that those two kids, they lost their mother's love and affection," said local politician D.V. Sadananda Gowda after visiting a family relative.

"The government... is seeking an enquiry so that the truth should come out and what the reasons are behind this incident."

Saldanha's body arrived a day after the nurse's children told a service at London's Westminster Cathedral that her death had created "an unfillable void" in their lives.

"We will miss your laughter, the loving memories and the good times we had together. The house is an empty dwelling without your presence," her daughter Lisha said.

A London inquest last week heard that Saldanha, who moved to Britain around 12 years ago, had been found hanged in staff accommodation on December 7 and that there were no suspicious circumstances over her death.

A few days earlier she put the prank call from a Australian radio station through to a colleague who relayed confidential details about Catherine's severe morning sickness to the DJs.

Saldanha left three notes, one of which reportedly criticised her colleagues over her treatment at the King Edward VII private hospital after the hoax call.

The hospital has defended itself, saying it offered support to Saldanha and had stressed to her she would not be disciplined for being taken in by the call.

Dozens of Indian students marched to the British High Commission in New Delhi on Saturday, carrying banners demanding "Justice for Jacintha".

The demonstrators alleged in a statement that "as a person of Indian origin she was isolated, victimised and subjected to harassment by the authorities".

Australian police say death threats have been made against Michael Christian and Mel Greig, the DJs from Sydney's 2Day FM radio station who made the call posing as the Queen and William's father Prince Charles.

The presenters made tearful apologies last week.

Story First Published: December 16, 2012 16:14 IST

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