The body of an Indian-born nurse who was found dead after taking a hoax call to the hospital treating Prince William’s wife Kate arrived in Mangalore yesterday following a memorial Mass in London.
Jacintha Saldanha, aged 46, apparently took her own life after answering the prank telephone call from two Australian radio DJs to the hospital where Kate was admitted during the early stages of her pregnancy.
Her funeral is expected to take place today near Mangalore in Shirva, the home town of her husband Benedict Barboza. He accompanied her body on yesterday’s flight to India along with their son, 16, and daughter, 14.
“Jacintha and her family, they were working in the UK to earn their daily bread,” Stany Tauro, priest of the Our Lady of Health Church in Shirva, told AFP. “The community is sad over the death.”
He said residents would be able to pay final respects to the body before the Mass scheduled at 4pm (10.30 GMT) and the burial ceremony.
Ms Saldanha’s frail mother lives with her other daughter and a son in Mangalore, 360km from Bangalore.
“I feel very sorry that those two kids, they lost their mother’s love and affection,” said local politician DV Sadananda Gowda after visiting a family relative.
“The government... is seeking an inquiry so that the truth should come out and what the reasons are behind this incident.”
Ms Saldanha’s body arrived a day after her children told a service at London’s Westminster Cathedral that her death had created “an unfillable void” in their lives. “We will miss your laughter, the loving memories and the good times we had together. The house is an empty dwelling without your presence,” her daughter Lisha said.
A London inquest last week heard Ms Saldanha, who moved to Britain about 12 years ago, had been found dead on Dec 7 in staff accommodation.
A few days earlier she put the prank call through to a colleague who relayed confidential details about Kate’s morning sickness to two Australian DJs.
Ms Saldanha left three notes, one of which reportedly criticised her colleagues over her treatment at the King Edward VII private hospital.
The hospital has defended itself, saying it offered support to Ms Saldanha and had stressed to her she would not be disciplined for being taken in by the call.
A report in Britain’s Sunday Times suggested Ms Saldanha had been involved in a dispute with a colleague at the hospital several weeks before her death, and had been unhappy with the way managers dealt with it.
Dozens of Indian students marched to the British High Commission in New Delhi on Saturday, demanding “Justice for Jacintha”.
They alleged “as a person of Indian origin she was isolated, victimised, and subjected to harassment by the authorities”.
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