Mel Greig breaks radio silence
In a tearful interview on channel 7 the ex-2DayFM radio DJ shares the horrors of the last 18 months since making the royal prank call.PT1M49S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-39cwy 620 349 June 2, 2014
Mel Greig, one of the Sydney DJs behind the controversial "royal prank" phone call that was linked to the suicide of a British nurse, has revealed that she urged her 2Day FM bosses to edit the recording to disguise two nurses' voices before the segment went to air.
Greig said just minutes after she recorded a two-minute conversation in December 2012 with the nurses at London's King Edward VII Hospital, where Kate Middleton was being treated for severe morning sickness, she became concerned that the nurses who featured in the recording could face severe consequences.
'Scapegoated': Mel Greig has struggled to find employment.
In an interview with Channel 7's Sunday Night, Greig said she immediately sent an email to her bosses urging them to disguise the identities of the nurses by replacing their voices with those of 2Day FM staff.
However her suggestion was dismissed and the decision was made to broadcast the segment without alteration, Sunday Night claimed.
Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who put through the call to the Duchess of Cambridge's ward after believing Greig was the Queen and her co-host, Michael Christian, was Prince Charles, took her own life days after the hoax made headlines around the world.
Mrs Saldanha left behind a note blaming the two Australian DJs for her death.
"I absolutely expressed concern," Greig told Sunday Night of her reaction in the minutes after the phone call, and before it went to air.
"As an announcer, I'm trained that we always need to get permission if we're going to broadcast something and it just didn't seem right that we would broadcast that without permission and without doing what we would normally do as announcers, so I was absolutely concerned."
Greig's barrister, Tony Hurran, also said his client wanted the recording changed.
"She has been the scapegoat and the fall guy. The decision to broadcast was not hers," he said.
In the extended interview with Sunday Night, Greig also described the depth of her remorse, saying she felt like "the worst person alive".
"I think of the Saldanha family all the time, and I just want them to see that I'm sorry, because I care so much about Jacintha and what she did and what happened, and I'm so sorry," she said.
"I don't ever want to listen to it [the recording of the prank call] again, because I'm ashamed of myself. I should have tried harder not to let that prank call air. It never should have aired."
Greig said she became depressed after the prank call went to air, and her boyfriend feared she may jump off their balcony when they learned that Mrs Saldanha had died.
The first half of the interview was filmed in September last year, but was not aired until Sunday night because of legal reasons, the program said.
Greig told Sunday Night that, so great was the backlash following the airing of the prank phone call, that she and her boyfriend were forced to remain holed up in her Sydney flat with a bodyguard.
She and her family received death threats, Greig said.
"They would ring my mum and say 'Eye for an eye. You need to die because she died'. So many horrible phone calls. Dad was rushed to hospital from the stress, and I thought, 'Great, now I've killed my dad too'," Greig said.
Greig is due to appear at the British inquest into the death of Ms Saldanha, but the inquest has been delayed numerous times because the coroner is seeking more information.
Southern Cross Austereo has said previously that Greig wanted the recording changed, but had not provided any further details.
"Prior to the call being broadcast, she made suggestions for changes to be made to the recording of the call," Austereo said in a statement last year.
"2Day FM decided that the call should be broadcast without alteration."
Greig resigned from 2Day FM in December last year and has not returned to work since the controversy. She said she had been dumped from the charities she previously represented and had been turned down by community radio stations.
Last year, Christian moved to Melbourne's Fox FM and won a national competition to discover Southern Cross Austereo's "next top jock".
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.