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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Australian hospital hoax DJ's "heartbroken" over death of Indian nurse

The radio presenters behind the Duchess of Cambridge hospital hoax have said they are "gutted and heartbroken" over the death of Indian-born nurse Jacintha Saldanha.

In a "raw and emotional" interview with Australia's Nine Network, DJ's Mel Greig and Michael Christian described the moment they heard that mother of two Saldanha had committed suicide.

Greig said: "Unfortunately I remember that moment very well because I haven't stopped thinking about it since it happened.

“I remember my first question was: 'Was she a mother?'.

"I have thought about this a million times in my head, that I just wanted to reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say sorry.

“I hope they are OK, I really do.”

Michael Christian, added: “I just hope that they get the love, the support, the care that they need.”

The DJ's also said they had never expected the call to the Duchess's ward would ever be put through.  

Greig said: "Not for a second did we expect to speak to anyone. We expected to be hung up on."

The pair said their concern now was for the family of Ms Saldanha.

Greig said: "I wanted to just reach out to them and to give them a big hug and say sorry.

"Not a minute goes by that we don't think about the family and what they are going through, and the thought we may have played a part is gut-wrenching."

Christian said: "It was something that was just fun and light-hearted and a tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected.

"We are shattered, heartbroken and our deepest sympathy goes to the family, friends and all those people affected.

"Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what's happened."

Mother of two Ms Saldanha, 46, who took the initial phone-call before putting the pair through to a colleague, was found dead on Friday.

Meanwhile, her family have revealed that she told no one in the family about the prank call or if she had been reprimanded by her superiors.

Family members have been gathering at Mrs Saldanha's mother-in-law's house in Shirva, Karnataka to console one another.  

They said that neither Saldanha nor her husband, Benedict Barboza, had talked of the hoax phone call or given any clue that she had been under any pressure or strain.

Saldanha and her husband were married in 1993 and moved to Muscat in Oman before arriving in the UK nine years ago.

Saldanha and her family were active members of the expatriate Konkani community in the UK and had even been voted 'Family of the Day' at the Konkani Community Association Christmas celebration in 2009.

- Staff Reporter

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