– Jacintha Saldanha, the British-Indian nurse who was found dead in her lodgings after answering an Australian hoax phone call about the Duchess of Cambridge, had reportedly tried to kill herself twice before, and was suffering depression.
Ms Saldanha was the nurse on duty at London’s King Edward VII Hospital who took a prank phone call from 2DayFM DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles inquiring about the duchess, Kate Middleton, hospitalised with acute morning sickness.
Ms Saldanha did not reveal any information about the duchess’s condition, but transferred the call to her room where another nurse did.
The Indian-born nurse was found in her living quarters three days later. Suicide notes, allegedly written by the 46-year-old, said she felt ashamed of her role in the call, blamed the DJs for her death, and criticised hospital staff.
On Sunday, London police said Christian and Greig could be charged with attempting to obtain medical details by deception, and that further charges could be brought against the radio station if it was found to have broadcast the prank without permission of the participants. London’s Metropolitan Police said detectives had sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.
On the same day, India’s “The Deccan Herald” newspaper reported that Ms Saldanha had been hospitalised after twice trying to commit suicide within the space of nine days, during a family holiday in India last December and January.
The first time she was taken to a private hospital in Mangalore after an overdose of pills. The second time she was taken to Father Mullen Medical College Hospital in the same city with head injuries after apparently jumping from a building.
“The Deccan Herald” said Ms Saldanha was diagnosed as suffering a depressive disorder. She received psychiatric treatment in hospital and was prescribed anti-depressants.
Ms Saldanha’s brother, Naveen Saldanha, confirmed his sister was hospitalised after a serious fall, but said that she never sought to discuss her health and life issues.
In Shirva, where Ms Saldanha was buried last week, family friends confirmed to Fairfax Media that she had been depressed – Ben Doherty & Sarah Whyte