Royal Nurse: Radio Gives £320K To Family Fund

Royal Nurse: Radio Gives £320K To Family Fund

A memorial fund for the family of the dead nurse who was the victim of the royal hoax call has been set up by the radio station responsible for the prank.

Southern Cross Austereo, the parent company of radio station 2Day FM, said the remainder of the profits for 2012 should go to a memorial fund to benefit Jacintha Saldhana's family.

The sum is expected to amount to AUS\$500,000 (£326,000).

It has also cancelled its Christmas party, saying it would be "inappropriate" to go ahead with the celebrations, and would instead donate the money it would have spent to charity.

Rhys Holleran, SCA's chief executive, said: "We are very sorry for what has happened. It is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts continue to be with the family.

"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."

A post-mortem examination on Ms Saldanha, who initially answered the prank call made to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge, is being held today.

Ms Saldanha was found dead on Friday days after she was tricked by Australian radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who called the King Edward VII Hospital in central London.

She transferred the presenters, believing they were the Queen and the Prince of Wales, to a colleague who divulged details about Kate's treatment for severe morning sickness.

Ms Saldanha, 46, from Bristol, was found dead in a block of nurses' flats close to the hospital, where she stayed while working in London.

MP Keith Vaz met her family on Monday and said they had been "devastated" by the loss of a "loving mother and a loving wife".

Flanked by Ms Saldanha's husband Benedict Barboza and her two teenage children, Mr Vaz said: "They miss her every moment of every day, but they are really grateful to the support of the British public and to the public overseas for the messages of support and kindness."

Mr Vaz has called for the hospital to provide the family with more support and to hold an inquiry.

His criticism came after the DJs broke their silence about the nurse's death.

Interviewed on Australian TV networks, the 2Day FM presenters said there had been a "tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected".

Police in London have contacted their Australian counterparts with a view to interviewing the pair ahead of an inquest into Ms Saldanha's death.

In response to Mr Vaz's criticism the hospital said its chief executive John Lofthouse had spoken to the nurse's husband on Friday by phone and offered to meet him whenever he wanted.

Under Australian regulations, the permission of anyone on the receiving end of a radio prank must be sought before the call can be broadcast.

The hospital has denied that anyone within its senior management or media unit was contacted.

The radio station insists appropriate checks were conducted before the pre-recorded item was broadcast.

Ms Saldanha was originally from Mangalore in southwest India, according to reports which have named her children as daughter Lisha, 14, and son Junal, 16.

Scotland Yard said the post-mortem would be held at Westminster Mortuary and it was likely an inquest would be opened and adjourned at Westminster Coroner's Court later this week

The Duchess of Cambridge has cancelled an appearance at the UK premiere of The Hobbit tomorrow because of her pregnancy sickness but The Duke of Cambridge will attend.

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