Royal prank radio station to pay $525,000 to family of dead nurse
By NBC News
By Ian Johnston, NBC News
LONDON -- A radio station is to pay at least $525,000 to a memorial fund in the name of a nurse found dead after two DJs duped her into putting them through to Duchess Kate's hospital ward where she was being treated for an extreme form of morning sickness.
Jacintha Saldanha was found dead in London, England, Friday after the prank in which Australian radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles in the call to London's King Edward VII's Hospital.
Greig and Christian spoke Monday about their distress over Saldanha's death, saying it had left them "shattered, gutted, heartbroken."
Police have said the circumstances of the death are "unexplained;" an autopsy was due to be carried out Tuesday.
A statement posted on the website of radio station 2Day FM's parent company, Southern Cross Austereo, said that advertising on the station would resume on Dec. 13. It was suspended as news of Saldanha's death caused widespread outrage.
The company said that all profits made from the ads until the end of the year would be donated to "an appropriate fund that will directly benefit the family of Jacintha Saldanha."
"A minimum contribution of $500,000 [Australian, about $525,000 U.S.] will be made. SCA today reiterates its deep regret for what has taken place in these tragic and unforeseen circumstances and offers its condolences to the family of Jacintha Saldanha," the statement added.
The company's chief executive Rhys Holleran was quoted as saying they were "very sorry for what has happened."
A statement from the hospital's chairman, Lord Glenarthur, welcomed news that Southern Cross Media Group was "set to make a sizeable donation to the family."
The hospital has set up the "Jacintha Saldanha Memorial Fund to benefit her husband and children at this difficult time."
"I am pleased to announce that many donations have already been made from around the world," Lord Glenarthur said. "I have today read that Southern Cross Media Group have pledged to make a minimum donation of $500,000 Australian Dollars to an appropriate fund. We would certainly welcome such a donation to the Jacintha Saldanha Memorial Fund."
The radio company has suspended Greig and Christian and scrapped their "Hot 30" program.