The West

The London hospital that treated Prince William's pregnant wife Catherine says the Australian radio station behind a prank call did not check with them before the hoax was broadcast.

The Sydney station, 2Day FM, said it had tried to contact King Edward VII's Hospital five times to discuss the prank call conducted with two nurses, one of whom, Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead on Friday in a suspected suicide.

But a hospital spokesman said: “Following the hoax call, the station did not talk to anyone in hospital senior management or anyone at the company that handles our media inquiries.”

The 2Day FM hosts who made the call last week, in which they obtained private details of Kate's acute morning sickness by pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and William's father Prince Charles, spoke on Monday of their grief at the nurse's death.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who have been in hiding and undergoing counselling since their hoax sparked global outrage, said they were devastated.

Saldanha, a mother-of-two originally from southern India, was found dead in nurses' accommodation near the hospital on Friday.

She had picked up the prank call and put it through to another nurse, who revealed details of Kate's condition.

Results of the post-mortem could be published later on Monday, although the timing has yet to be confirmed, a police spokeswoman said.

Kate, who is thought to be around nine weeks pregnant, spent three days being treated at the hospital.

2Day FM's owner, Southern Cross Austereo, reacted to growing alarm over the story by pulling the two hosts off air until further notice, axing their show, suspending all advertising on 2Day FM until further notice and forbidding any prank calls across its network.

The company, which faced a diving share price and threats of a cyber attack on Monday, expressed its “deep and sincere condolences” to the nurse's family.

“We are very sorry for what has happened,” said CEO Rhys Holleran.

“We are also providing support to our people who are deeply saddened by this tragic and unforeseen event.”

Greig said she was prepared to attend any inquest in London and see the nurse's family face to face.

“If that's something that they want to do, to get some closure, then I'll do that,” she said.

“It was meant to be a silly little prank that so many people have done before. This wasn't meant to happen.

“I haven't stopped thinking about it since it happened. I remember my first question was, 'Was she a mother?' I can't imagine what they (the family) would be going through.”

Saldanha had two children. Her husband, Ben Barboza, expressed his sadness on his Facebook page with a short note “Obituary Jacintha.”

“I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances,” he wrote.

He said she will be laid to rest in Shirva, India.

Meanwhile, there were indications that the Duchess of Cambridge was still struggling with acute morning sickness, with her husband, Prince William, cancelling a Sunday night engagement.

Palace officials said her illness means she will probably not attend the UK premiere of The Hobbit film on Wednesday, where she and William are scheduled to be the guests of honour.

AAP/PA/DPA/AFP jel11-12-12 0040


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