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Royal prank call: Duped nurse was found hanging, also had wrist injuries

During a hearing in London's Coroner's Court today, details were revealed about the cause of death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha shortly after she took a prank phone call to the Duchess of Cambridge, including that she left three handwritten notes. NBC's Keir Simmons reports.

Updated at 6:20 a.m. ET: LONDON — The nurse duped by two Australian radio show hosts into putting through a prank call to the hospital ward of the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was found hanging by a scarf from a wardrobe, an official said Thursday.


Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found by a colleague and a member of security staff at King Edward VII’s Hospital in the British capital on Friday, coroner's officer Lynda Martindill told a formal hearing into the circumstances of her death called an inquest.


Police detective chief inspector James Harman told the hearing that the married mother-of-two had injuries to her wrists. 

 

He also said that three handwritten notes were found, two at the scene and one among her belongings. 

As well as examining the notes, Harman said police were interviewing her friends, family and colleagues and looking at emails and phone calls to establish what led to her death, The Associated Press reported.

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Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead days after being hoaxed by an Australian radio show.

At the brief hearing, Coroner Fiona Wilcox opened and then adjourned the inquest until March 26 without making a ruling. Police have previously described the death as "unexplained."

Nurse who was duped by prank call about Duchess Kate found dead

Saldanha put the hoax call through to a colleague who disclosed details of the care given to Kate, who was being treated for acute morning sickness at the hospital.

The prank call by Sydney radio station 2Day FM made headlines around the world, as did news that Saldanha had died.

Southern Cross Austereo, the station’s parent company, has apologized for the stunt and said on Tuesday it would donate its advertising revenue until the end of the year to a fund for Saldanha's family, with a minimum contribution of about $525,000.

Royal prank radio station to pay $525,000 to family of dead nurse

However, British lawmaker Keith Vaz told Reuters that he had written to Southern Cross to express his dissatisfaction.

Neil Hall / Reuters

Tributes to nurse Jacintha Saldanha are seen outside the nurses' accommodation near the King Edward VII's Hospital in London on Tuesday.

"There has been no written apology, no request for a meeting with the family and no attempt to travel to the United Kingdom to express contrition," Vaz wrote in a letter to Southern Cross chief executive Rhys Holleran that he released to the media.

"I would be grateful if you could let me know how you arrived at this figure and why you think this adequately deals with this serious and important issue," Vaz wrote.

DJs speak out, say they're 'heartbroken' over death of nurse in royal hoax call

Southern Cross and its two DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, have faced a barrage of criticism.

Greig and Christian have both been suspended and their show has been scrapped. 

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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