Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who committed suicide after the royal hoax phone call, left a note telling the two Australian DJs behind the prank they were responsible for her death, according to sources close to the family.
In one of three apparent suicide notes, Jacintha Saldanha wrote a short letter in which she expressed her deep anger at radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian and blamed them for her tragic death.
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found hanged with a scarf at her accommodation at the King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, where Kate Middleton was being treated for severe morning sickness.
It was revealed that one of the DJs telephoned the hospital back within an hour of the call and spoke to Jacintha Saldanha again, telling her they had played a prank which they were about to broadcast.
The revelation is believed to have left Jacintha Saldanha, who had no experience of dealing with the media, feeling confused and agitated.
DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian – who are believed to be at safe addresses following death threats – have apologized for the tragic repercussions of their prank. They pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles seeking information about Kate Middleton’s condition.
In another, one-page letter, Jacintha Saldanha criticized “aspects of the hospital staff”, and singled out two individuals for blame.
Although the hospital has repeatedly said no senior member of staff blamed Jacintha Saldanha for falling victim to the prank and provided her with support, it is understood she may have been reprimanded by colleagues by email.
Asked if Jacintha Saldanha received a “ticking-off” by senior colleagues, a family friend yesterday replied: “What do you think?”
The hospital has declined to comment on the notes, saying senior staff have not seen copies. It is believed the original notes are now in the possession of Scotland Yard, which has produced transcripts for the family.
Sources close to the family said their relationship with the hospital was strained as senior managers had not provided “facts” they have requested.
The hospital has so far not replied to several written questions the family handed to chief executive John Lofthouse at a meeting last Tuesday organized by senior Labour MP Keith Vaz. As a prominent Asian parliamentarian, Keith Vaz was approached by the family for help.
John Lofthouse was given the questions by Jacintha Saldanha’s husband Benedict Barboza, 49, an NHS accountant, their son Junal, 17, and daughter Lisha, 14. Yesterday, John Lofthouse attended a mass at Westminster Cathedral where prayers were said for Jacintha Saldanha. He was accompanied by other members of the hospital’s staff, many of whom were in tears.
One attendee said he overheard a hospital staff member tell the family: “I hope you get to the truth.”
Meanwhile, another friend of the family has revealed that Jacintha Saldanha may have tried to commit suicide more than once in the 72 hours between the prank and the moment her body was discovered by a colleague.
She may have attempted to slash her wrists before she died as a result of hanging herself with a scarf. The friend said: “She may have tried to kill herself more than once – that’s why there are three notes.”
An inquest on Friday was told police found marks on Jacintha Saldanha’s wrists.
Jacintha Saldanha usually called her family in Bristol every evening. But on the Thursday night following the hoax call in the early hours of Tuesday morning, she did not call or text her husband, leaving him concerned.
Benedict Barboza called the hospital early on Friday morning and asked a colleague to check on her. But apparently, the nurse failed to do that. Another colleague went to her room at 9:30 a.m. and found her body.
The news was broken to Benedict Barboza by police. At no point that day or subsequently did any member of the hospital staff visit the family to express their condolences, according to a family friend.
“They could have gone to break the news to the family but they didn’t do it,” the source added.
In her final letter, Jacintha Saldanha is believed to have asked to be buried in her home village of Shirwa, near Mangalore, in southern India.
The funeral will be held there on Monday. In a statement, the hospital said: “No one at the hospital has seen these notes so we cannot comment. However, we reiterate that Jacintha was an outstanding nurse… Hospital management offered her their support and told her they considered her the victim of a cruel hoax.
“They stood by her actions and made it clear there was no criticism of her and that there would be no disciplinary action of any kind.”