Australian DJs 'heartbroken' over Kate nurse suicide - video
Tearful presenters apologise to Saldanha family – but why did 2Day FM broadcast without permission?
TWO Australian DJs who made a prank call to the London hospital that was caring for Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, said today they were "shattered, gutted [and] heartbroken" following the apparent suicide of the nurse who took their call.
Giving their first interviews since the death of Jacintha Saldanha on Friday, Michael Christian and Mel Greig of Sydney radio station 2Day FM both broke down in tears as they spoke about their regret at the call and apologised to the nurse's family.
In one interview with A Current Affair on Channel 9, Greig, who had tears streaming down her face, said: "I've thought about it a million times. I want to reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say 'Sorry'. I hope they're OK. I really do."
The interviewer, Tracey Grimshaw, described the DJs as "pretty shattered people". And the Daily Mail reported that they are "both receiving counselling in case they attempt self harm".
The pair rang the King Edward VII hospital in London last Wednesday pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles and asked for an update on the duchess's condition. Saldanha took the call and put them through to another nurse, still unnamed, who was treating the duchess. The second nurse discussed the duchess's condition, unaware she was being duped.
The DJs said they never expected to get past the switchboard and were astonished to be put through.
Rhys Holleran, chief executive of 2Day FM's parent company, Southern Cross Austereo, now claims the station tried several times last week to contact the hospital before broadcasting the tape of the call.
He did not explain why the station went ahead and broadcast the prank call given that Australian guidelines state clearly that "a station must not broadcast the words of an identifiable person unless they have been informed in advance that the recording may go to air." As The Guardian explains: "If someone is unaware they are being recorded, the interviewee must grant consent for it to be played, prior to anything being broadcast."
Despite the fact that it now appears the station broke that rule, there has been support for the two DJs from some members of the Australian media. Michael Idato of the Sydney Morning Herald said: "Greig and Christian need to say their piece. And as a civilised society we need to forgive, and move on.
"Not just so that we (and they) can learn from their mistakes, but more importantly, so that the family of Jacintha Saldanha can bury a beloved daughter without the spectre of a lynch mob baying for blood over her grave."