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16th Jamadi-us-Saani 1435 | Thursday, Apr 17, 2014
NRIs Corner

Family shocked over Indian nurse's death in London

Sunday, 9 December 2012
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Bangalore, December 09:

Family members of Indian nurse Jacintha Saldhana, who fell prey to a hoax call from Australian radio jockeys about the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy, are too shocked to react to her mysterious death in London Friday as her husband did not tell them it was suicide.

"We were too shocked to hear that Jacintha, 46, was no more from her husband (Benedict Barboza). He did not tell us that she committed suicide and hung up, as he was trying to come to terms with the tragedy," Barboza's elder sister Irene D'Souza told IANS from Shirva, about 400 km from Bangalore in the coastal Dakshina Kannada district.

As Barboza rushed to London from Bristol to collect Saldhana's body, D'Souza learnt about the incident through the media and news channels since she could not contact her brother again.

"We came to know about it (suicide) only through media and news channels on TV. Our mother (Carmine Barboza, 82,) is inconsolable. It is hard to believe Jacintha could do it as she was not type who would take life like that," D'Souza said in anguish.

Saldhana, mother of two children (a son and daughter) was found unconscious Friday morning in the quarters of King Edward VII Hospital in central London where she was working as a senior nurse, and was pronounced dead when rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.

"We didn't even know that Jacintha got unwittingly involved in the hoax call though we read something about it in newspapers last week that there was a prank call to the hospital from a radio station in Australia, whose jockeys tried to know about the princess' (Kate Middleton) health by imitating the voice of the queen (Elizabeth) and prince (Charles)," Saldhana's nephew said, but declined to be named.

As the bereaved family is planning to perform Saldhana's last rites in the home town, they are waiting for Barboza to complete the formalities in London to bring the body here this week after police investigation into the suspected suicide.

"Benedict wants to bring Jacintha's body to India for burial at Shirva. We are waiting to know when he would be able to come so that all other family members could join us for prayers and last rites," a grieving D'Souza said.

Barboza's four sisters Irene, Janet, Severine and Mary reside at Shirva and Mangalore.

Saldhana, who graduated from Father Muller College of Nursing in Mangalore in mid-eighties, first worked in the Gulf for a few years and went to London after marriage 15 years ago to live with Barboza, an accountant at a supermarket at Bristol, 190 km from London.

When the jockeys (Mel Greig and Michael Christian) from Sydney radio station called the hospital early Dec 4, Jacintha picked the call in the absence of the receptionist at that time (5.30 a.m.) and transferred it to another duty nurse who briefed them on the health condition of the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate), who was admitted to the royal hospital Dec 3 after she complained of acute morning sickness.

Though the Duchess was discharged Dec 6, news about the hoax call shocked the royal family and caused outrage the world over, especially in the British media. The two radio jockeys were later sacked.

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