3:28pm Friday 7th December 2012
A NURSE who took the prank Australian radio call at the hospital which treated the Duchess of Cambridge when telephone hoaxers struck earlier this week has been found dead.
Two Australian radio DJs impersonated the Queen and the Prince of Wales to dupe staff into giving a condition update on Kate, who was suffering severe morning sickness at the private King Edward VII Hospital in central London.
The nurse, named as Jacintha Saldanha, who the hospital said had worked there for four years, was found at an address near the King Edward.
Hospital bosses have just released a statement paying tribute to the woman's service.
The hospital said in a statement: "We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital.
"The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time.
"Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII's Hospital for more than four years.
"She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues."
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Police were called at approximately 9.35am this morning to a report of a woman found unconscious at an address in Weymouth Street, W1.
"London Ambulance Service attended and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Inquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances of the incident. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage."
The presenters, from 2Day FM, remarked during their show how their efforts were the "easiest prank call ever made", as they put on mock British accents they later described as "terrible".
Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse condemned the hoax call, made in the early hours of Tuesday.
In a statement issued later that day, Mr Lofthouse said: "I think this whole thing is pretty deplorable, our nurses are caring, professional people trained to look after patients, not to cope with journalistic trickery of this sort."
He said there was no chance the Duchess could have received the call, adding: "Technically I think this was a breach of patient confidentiality, which I very much regret. Having said that, the information which was inadvertently revealed is already in the public domain."
The 2Day FM presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, later apologised for their actions as did their radio station. The station was expected to issue a statement about the death later.
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