British lawmaker criticises Australian radio over hoax nurse

LONDON Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:43am IST

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha is seen in this undated handout photograph released by the Metropolitan Police in London December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Metropolitan Police/Handout

Nurse Jacintha Saldanha is seen in this undated handout photograph released by the Metropolitan Police in London December 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Metropolitan Police/Handout

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LONDON (Reuters) - A lawmaker representing the family of a nurse who apparently took her own life after a prank call to a London hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife on Wednesday condemned the response of the Australian radio station that made the call.

Jacintha Saldanha's body was found last Friday, days after she put the hoax call through to a colleague who disclosed details of the treatment being given to William's wife Kate, who is suffering from acute morning sickness.

The prank made headlines around the world, as did news that Saldanha, who was married with two children, had then apparently committed suicide.

British lawmaker Keith Vaz said he had written to Southern Cross Austereo (SXL.AX), parent company of Sydney radio station 2Day FM, to express his dissatisfaction.

"There has been no written apology, no request for a meeting with the family and no attempt to travel to the United Kingdom to express contrition," Vaz wrote in a letter to Southern Cross chief executive Rhys Holleran that he released to the media.

Southern Cross, which has apologised for the stunt, said on Tuesday it would donate its advertising revenue until the end of the year to a fund for Saldanha's family, with a minimum contribution of A$500,000.

"I would be grateful if you could let me know how you arrived at this figure and why you think this adequately deals with this serious and important issue," Vaz wrote.

Southern Cross and its two presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, have faced a barrage of criticism since Saldanha, 46, was found dead in staff accommodation near London's King Edward VII hospital.

Greig and Christian have both been suspended and their show has been scrapped. They appeared on Australian television to say the death had left them heartbroken.

British newspapers have reported that Saldanha was found hanged and had left a note for her family. London police said they would not comment on the reports, and that details of her death would be presented at an inquest opening on Thursday.

The hospital has said Saldanha had not been criticised disciplined for taking the call, although Vaz said he wanted an inquiry to establish the facts.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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