3AW - Fairfax Radio Network

What we're talking about

Claims nurse involved in Royal prank call left suicide note

Posted by: Ellen Feely, Michael James & Ned Franklin | 10 December, 2012 - 7:04 AM
Jacintha Saldanha. (Photo: Facebook)

UPDATE: Claims have emerged the nurse who killed herself days after falling victim to a Sydney radio station's hoax call wrote a suicide note.

It's alleged Jacintha Saldanha left a note for her husband and children, aged 17 and 14, but the family still believe there are 'unexplained circumstances' and are demanding answers from Ms Saldanha employer, King Edward VII Hospital.

Results from a post mortem examination carried out yesterday are expected to be made public today.

TUESDAY: Southern Cross Austereo has announced all profits from advertising generated on 2Day FM for the rest of the year, at a minimum of $500,000, will be donated to a fund to directly benefit the family of nurse Jacintha Saldanha.

The company suspended advertising after the backlash towards the Today Network and hosts, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, after a nurse involved in their 'Royal radio prank' apparently committed suicide. Advertising is due to resume from Thursday.

"We hope that by contributing to a memorial fund we can help to provide the Saldanha family with the support they need at this very difficult time," SCA chief executive Rhys Holleran said.

"The Company today reiterates that it is deeply saddened by this tragic and unforseen (sic) event and offers its condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha."

King Edward VII hospital has contradicted claims made on 3AW yesterday that 2Day FM attempted to contact hospital managers five times before the prank call was aired.

A spokeswoman for the hospital told the UK's Guardian newspaper on Monday: "Following the hoax call, the radio station did not speak to anyone in the hospital's senior management or anyone at the company that handles our media inquiries."

The revelation comes after chief executive of Southern Cross Austereo Rhys Holleran told Neil Mitchell the station tried to contact the hospital 'on no less than five occasions'.

LISTEN HERE: Rhys Holleran speaks with Neil Mitchell

Last night, announcers Michael Christian and Mel Greig appeared on Today Tonight and A Current Affair, where they said the decision to broadcast the audio was taken out of their hands.

"It went through the processes of every other recorded bit that we do – from interviews to you know anything at all that gets recorded and passed on to the appropriate people, goes through the process, and we’re told whether it’s yes or no to play," Ms Greig said on Today Tonight.

Mr Christain concured, telling reporter Clare Brady the call was not designed to be 'malicious' - "no harm was intended on Jacintha, or the other nurse, or Kate, or Prince William, or anyone. It wasn’t – from start to finish – there was no harm intended. And obviously, you know, we’re incredibly sorry for the harm that we may have helped contribute (to)".

3AW Breakfast Host Ross Stevenson watched the interview on A Current Affair and described the DJs manner as 'thoroughly unimpressive'.

"They had clearly been schooled by a spin doctor to within an inch of their life," he said.

"They kept repeating the same phrases over and over which just makes it obvious that they had received solid media training."

Neil Mitchell agreed, telling his listeners that 2Day FM were "treating us like fools".

"I felt sorry for the presenters yesterday but they were dodging the issue of who is really at fault here," he said.

"Somebody up the line made the decision (to play the call) and it defies belief that nobody seems to know who did that."

LISTEN HERE: Neil Mitchell has his say on the DJs interviews

Meanwhile, Southern Cross Austereo have placed a blanket ban on all prank calls across their Today and Triple M networks.

The Hot30 show was also officially axed on Monday after being placed on in indefinite suspension over the weekend.

MONDAY: Global outrage continues after 2DAY FM presenters last week made a prank call to the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated.

The Australian media regulator has also been flooded with complaints after the nurse who transferred the call took her own life.

CEO of Southern Cross Austereo Rhys Holleran has told Neil Mitchell the station tried several times to contact those who were caught up in the call before playing it.

"It is absolutely true to say that we actually did attempt to contact those people on multiple occasions,"

"We attempted to contact them on no less than 5 occasions" he said.

LISTEN HERE: Rhys Holleran speaks with Neil Mitchell

READ: Neil Mitchell has his say on the Royal Prank tragedy

Following a crisis meeting on Sunday night, the station released a letter chairman Max Moore-Wilton had written to the chairman of King Edward VII's Hospital, Lord Glenarthur.

Lord Glenarthur had earlier written to the station denouncing the stunt as "truly appalling".

Mr Moore-Wilton wrote that the station was ''taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast and processes involved''.

''It is too early to know the full details leading to this tragic event and we are anxious to review the results of an investigation that may be made available to us or made public.''

''We can assure you that we will be fully cooperative with all investigations.''

''We are all saddened by the events of the last few days. They are truly tragic.''The nurse that put the call through take her own life.

Meanwhile, an international hacking group known as Anonymous has posted a YouTube video against the presenters, advertisers and producers of 2Day FM, threatening to hack into the station's website if no action is taken to terminate the contracts of Michael Christian and Mel Greig.

"You have a funeral to pay for.  You are directly responsible for the death of a human being," it says.

Image: A family photograph of Jacintha Saldanha. Photo: AFP


Support is available for anyone who may be distressed. For help or information visit beyondblue.org.au, call Suicide Helpline Victoria on 1300 651 251, or Lifeline on 131 114.


LISTEN: 3AW Lawyer Michelle Davies speaks with Ross and John

Having problems listening? Upgrade your media player for Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Firefox.

(Click here to listen to the audio in a pop-up window)


"The buck stops with the boss"

2day FM Logo OPINION: Who knew? Who approved it? And why are the two presenters wearing all the blame? The buck stops with the boss.Do you agree with Neil? Have your say here.


Blog comments Your Say

  • I agree that Max Moore Wilton, Rhys Holleran or the staff member who approved the airing should be held accountable. I am dismayed by death threats from people who feel the network was responsible for the nurses death. Can they not see that murder is worse than manslaughter? (Personally I'd like to see manslaughter charges applied, Austereo dismantled and the assets be award to the network's long list of victims). I feel that precedent will send a strong message to network, stations, management and presenter to stick to ethical standards. I'm a realist though. I know it won't happen. It will all blow over with the next big news story.

    Jade W Friday 14 December, 2012 - 10:40 AM
  • There are some idiots here. How do you know what happened in the nurse's life? How do you know how far the prank went and how it affected her? And no it was NOT funny AT ALL. It's obviously a combination of factors that led to her suicide but how do you know the prank call wasn't a factor as well? And what do you know about what the royal family does? Looks like you are the ones who sit on your asses and judge everyone in total ignorance while doing nothing useful for society. Grow up!

    Justice for Bullies Wednesday 12 December, 2012 - 7:24 PM
  • If memory serves me correctly isn't Neil Mitchell one of those media presenters who need to pay very close attention to regulatory guidelines?

    Jade W Wednesday 12 December, 2012 - 4:45 PM
  • @MATT OF MELBOURNE, I made a comment re this on 11th 10.10AM and agree with you, will the bloody hospital be including themselves in the investigations, absolute hypocrites.

    Willow Wednesday 12 December, 2012 - 9:03 AM
  • i honestly do not think the call was the cause of her deathy, but i am hyappy the radio staion aredonating money to the family for her children, it will bring back the mother but it will help,

    annie king Wednesday 12 December, 2012 - 6:32 AM
  • What a joke, this woman obvoiusly had some prior issues... this really has little if anything to do with the radio prank, family cash in, why not? It's all a big joke. Can't take a prank, it was funny.... very Australian, yobbo stuff all the way. Soon you people will all be a bunch of robots, no fun anymore. Picking on the Royal family is about all one can do, bunch of unemployed parasites funded by the taxpayer to live life to excess in the extreme. To hell with them all.

    Mark Wednesday 12 December, 2012 - 6:04 AM

Post a comment * Mandatory fields