Hospital Worker Duped by Kate Middleton Radio Prank Found Dead
UPDATED: The news comes two days after Australian DJs tricked the woman into believing she was talking to the Queen and Prince Charles.
A worker at the private hospital where a pregnant Kate Middleton was being treated has been found dead, two days after being fooled by DJs from an Australian radio station pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, the BBC reports.
Scotland Yard is investigating the death, which it is treating as "unexplained." The Daily Mail tabloid cites a source who claims the woman "appeared to have killed herself."
The prank call, made early Tuesday morning by DJs Mel Greig (a woman) and Michael Christian, began with Greig telling the King Edward VII Hospital worker, "Oh, hello there. Could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?"
The worker then passed the phone along to a nurse, who disclosed personal observations about Middleton's health. The DJs played the hoax online, and it instantly became an international sensation.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Police were called at approximately 9.25 a.m. on Friday, December 7, to a report of a woman found unconscious an address in Weymouth Street, W1. London Ambulance Service attended, and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Inquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances of the incident. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage."
Middleton was released from the hospital Thursday after being admitted there on Monday for a bout of hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.
UPDATED: Scotland Yard has confirmed the cause of death of the worker, identified as Jacintha Saldanha, to be suicide. A spokesperson for the radio station responsible for the prank has issued this statement:
"Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII’s Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.
Chief Executive Officer Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters, they are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances. SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy."
Listen to the call below.