The Australian DJs behind a prank call to the hospital where the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was being treated have spoken of their regret after one of the nurses they duped was later found dead in a suspected suicide.
In emotional interviews on Australian TV networks, presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian insisted that their prank call to the King Edward VII's Hospital in central London had "never meant" to get that far and they had expected staff to hang up on them.
The pair posed as the Queen and the Prince of Wales when they rang the hospital where Kate was being treated for acute morning sickness.
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha took the initial call and, believing the call to be genuine, put them through to another colleague who was duped into describing Kate's condition in detail.
A tearful Ms Greig, who was at times comforted by Mr Christian, told Today Tonight on Australia's Channel Seven: "There's nothing that can make me feel worse than what I feel right now.
"And for what I feel for the family. We're so sorry that this has happened to them."
Mr Christian said he was "gutted, shattered, heartbroken" by the nurse's death.
Mother of two Ms Saldanha, 46, was found dead on Friday in what appeared to be a suspected suicide.
Ms Greig said: "I remember my first question was 'Was she a mother?'.
"I have thought about this a million times in my head, that I just wanted to reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say sorry.
"I hope they are OK, I really do."
A sombre and downcast Mr Christian, added: "I just hope that they get the love, the support, the care that they need."
In a second interview on the Nine Network, the DJs said they had never expected their fake call would be put through to the Duchess's ward.
They said they expected it to last 30 seconds, get told off and have the phone hung up in their ear.
A distraught Ms Greig said: "Not for a second did we expect to speak to anyone. We expected to be hung up on."
The pair said their greatest concern now was for the family of Ms Saldanha.
Ms Greig said: "I wanted to just reach out to them and to give them a big hug and say sorry.
"Not a minute goes by that we don't think about the family and what they are going through, and the thought we may have played a part is gut-wrenching."
Mr Christian told Nine's A Current Affair programme: "We are shattered, heartbroken and our deepest sympathy goes to the family, friends and all those people affected.
"Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what's happened."
Ms Greig and Mr Christian, DJs on the station 2Day FM, pulled out of a third interview scheduled for The Project, on the Ten network, because they were unwell, according to a spokesman for the TV channel.
In a statement, the radio station's owner, Southern Cross Austero Media, said it had suspended advertising on 2Day FM until further notice, ended Ms Greig and Mr Christian's Hot 30 show, and suspended prank calls across the company.
The statement said attempts had been made to contact the hospital before the hoax was broadcast, adding that it believed no laws had been broken.
Britain's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told Sky News that the nurse's response to the prank call does not point to a widespread breach of procedure.