London nurse death inquest opens

London nurse death inquest opens

British police have confirmed they will gather evidence from Australia as they continue to investigate the death of London nurse Jacintha Saldanha.

During a brief hearing on Thursday morning (local time), Westminster Coroner's Court was told Ms Saldanha, 46, was found dead at staff quarters near King Edward VII hospital where she worked.

MP Keith Vaz addresses the media on behalf of the Sadantha family outside Westminster Coroner's Court.

MP Keith Vaz addresses the media on behalf of the Sadantha family outside Westminster Coroner's Court.

Photo: Reuters

Three days earlier, the mother-of-two was duped by Australian radio presenters making a hoax call to the hospital seeking details about Prince William's pregnant wife Catherine, who was receiving treatment for acute morning sickness.

Detective Chief Inspector James Harman told Coroner Fiona Wilcox that Scotland Yard detectives would be in contact with Australian police to interview witnesses to "put the best evidence before you" about the circumstances of the death.

Tragedy ... Jacintha Saldanha.

Tragedy ... Jacintha Saldanha.

Photo: Facebook

"I can expect in the very near future to be in contact with colleagues in NSW," he said.

Detectives are also looking into telephone calls and emails to see if they throw any light on the death, Chief Insp Harman said.

Presenters for Sydney radio station 2Day FM, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles when they made a hoax call to the hospital, answered by Ms Saldanha who transferred the pair to the royal ward.

"On Friday, December 7, Jacintha Saldanha was found by a colleague and a member of security staff," Chief Insp Harman told the inquest.

"The London Ambulance Service was called to the scene. At this time, there are no suspicious circumstances."

A post-mortem examination was conducted on Ms Saldanha's body earlier this week, but the inquest was told toxicology results were still outstanding and a cause of death is yet to be determined.

The coronial hearing was also told investigators found three notes, handwritten by Ms Saldanha.

Ms Saldanha's husband, Benedict Barboza, has asked for details about the circumstances surrounding his wife's death.

2Day FM's owner, Southern Cross Austereo, has extended its sympathy to Ms Saldahna's family.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced it will use discretionary powers to begin an "own motion" investigation of the call, bypassing the usual complaints procedures.

The probe could see a revocation of 2Day FM's licence.

The London inquest has been adjourned until March 26 next year.


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