Tue, Dec 11, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Australian DJs break silence over UK prank tragedy

Reuters, CANBERRA

Radio presenter Mel Greig is interviewed on Australian television’s A Current Affair yesterday.

Photo: AFP / NINE NETWORK / A CURRENT AFFAIR

Two Australian radio announcers who made a prank call to a British hospital treating Prince William’s pregnant wife Kate broke a three-day silence yesterday to speak of their distress at the apparent suicide of the nurse who took their call.

The 2DayFM Sydney-based announcers, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, said the tragedy had left them “shattered, gutted, heartbroken.”

Greig and fellow presenter and prank mastermind Christian have been in hiding since nurse Jacintha Saldanha’s death and the social media outrage at their prank.

Greig told Australian TV her first thought when told of Saldanha’s death was for her family.

“Unfortunately, I remember that moment very well, because I haven’t stopped thinking about it since it happened,” she said, amid tears and her voice quavering with emotion. “I remember my first question was: ‘Was she a mother?’”

“I’ve wanted to just reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say sorry. I hope they’re okay, I really do. I hope they get through this,” a black-clad Greig said when asked about mother of two Saldanha’s children, left grieving their mother’s death with their father Ben Barboza.

Saldanha, 46, was found dead in staff accommodation near London’s King Edward VII hospital on Friday after putting the hoax call through to a colleague who unwittingly disclosed details of Kate’s morning sickness to 2DayFM’s presenters.

A recording of the call, broadcast repeatedly by the station, rapidly became an Internet hit and was reprinted as a transcript in many newspapers.

However, news of Saldanha’s death sparked an Internet firestorm, with vitriolic comments toward the DJs on Facebook and Twitter.

Christian said his only wish was that Saldanha’s grief-stricken family received proper support.

“I hope that they get the love, the support, the care that they need, you know,” said Christian, who like Greig struggled to talk about the tragedy.

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