No charges over hoax royal call

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha died after fielding the hoax call from Australian DJs (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha died after fielding the hoax call from Australian DJs (Metropolitan Police/PA)

First published in National News © by

The DJs behind a prank call to a hospital about the Duchess of Cambridge will not face charges in connection with the death of a nurse who took the call, prosecutors have announced.

But the family of Jacintha Saldanha, who transferred the hoax call to a colleague who then gave out information about Kate's condition, said there were still "many unanswered questions".

Ms Saldanha, a nurse at the private King Edward VII's hospital in central London, where Kate was being treated for a rare form of pregnancy sickness, took the call from Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian in December.

She transferred the pair, who were posing as the Queen and Prince of Wales, to a colleague, who then described Kate's condition to them in detail. Ms Saldanha, 46, a mother of two from Bristol, was found dead in her nurses' quarters three days later.

Her death sparked a worldwide backlash against the 2Day FM DJs, with some calling for them to be charged. But on Friday the Crown Prosecution Service said no charges will be brought over the prank and there was no evidence to support a manslaughter charge. Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the CPS, said that although misguided, the call was intended as a "harmless prank".

Ms Saldanha's family said they still had many unanswered questions about the events that led to her death. Labour MP Keith Vaz, who has supported Ms Saldanha's family since the death, spoke to the family after the announcement by the CPS.

He said: "The family of Jacintha have been left devastated by her death. They are struggling to come to terms with the events that led to it, especially the hoax call. The family still have many unanswered questions and now await the inquest due to start on March 26."

Announcing the CPS decision, Mr McHaffie said there was no evidence to support a manslaughter charge and that any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest. He said: "As is well known, on December 4 2012 Mel Greig and Michael Christian, both radio presenters in Australia, made a telephone call to the King Edward VII's Hospital in London, where the Duchess of Cambridge was receiving treatment, in which they pretended to be members of the Royal Family.

"During the course of the call, private information about the Duchess's health was given, in good faith, to Ms Greig and Mr Christian and the call was later played on a radio station in Australia. Subsequently, Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse at the hospital who had initially taken the call but who had not herself passed on the information, tragically took her own life."

He said: "Having carefully reviewed the evidence currently available, we have concluded that there is no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter and that, although there is some evidence to warrant further investigation of offences under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003, no further investigation is required because any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest."

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