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Inquest: nurse in British royal hoax found hanging

  • Associated Press
  • December 13, 2012 - 4:51 AM

LONDON - A nurse who took a hoax call from Australian DJs about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge apparently killed herself three days later, with a coroner's officer saying Thursday she was found hanging by the neck and a detective saying she left three notes.

Coroner's officer Lynda Martindill told an inquest that nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found hanging by a scarf from a wardrobe in her room Friday by a colleague and a member of security staff at London's King Edward VII Hospital.

Police detective chief inspector James Harman said Saldanha, 46, also had injuries to her wrists. He told the coroner's inquest that two notes were found at the scene and another among Saldanha's belongings. He said there were no suspicious circumstances, meaning nobody else was involved in Saldanha's death.

As well as examining the notes, he said police were interviewing the nurse's friends, family and colleagues and looking at emails and phone calls to establish what led to her death. The case is being treated as an apparent suicide.

Saldanha answered the phone last week when two Australian disc jockeys called to seek information about the former Kate Middleton, who was being treated for severe morning sickness. The DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, and Saldanha was duped into transferring them to a nurse caring for the duchess, who revealed details about her condition.

Australia's media watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, said on Thursday it was launching an official investigation into whether the radio station, 2DayFM, breached its broadcasting license conditions and the industry code of practice

Coroner Fiona Wilcox opened and adjourned Saldanha's inquest until March 26.

Wilcox expressed "my sympathies to her family and everybody who has been touched by this tragic death."

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