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Nurse At Center Of Royal Phone Prank Left Suicide Note, Never Told Family About Phony Call

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Dec. 11 2012, Published 6:00 a.m. ET

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By Neil Woulfe - Senior News Director

Jacintha Saldanha, the well-respected nurse who unwittingly transferred a prank phone call to another nurse caring for Kate Middleton at a private hospital in London, left a suicide note, has learned.

In another stunning development, Australian media is reporting that Saldanha did not tell her family about the phony phone call, prior to taking her own life.

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News outlets in the UK reported the presence of a suicide note Tuesday, though the contents of the purported note have not been made public at this time. One clue as to what it might reveal came from comments from her brother Naveen, who told Mail Online Sunday that the nurse was "a proper and righteous person" who "would have would have felt much shame about the incident."

Meanwhile, an autopsy is being performed Tuesday on Saldanha’s body, who was found dead last Friday -- only days after the prank gone horribly wrong.

As we previously reported, the 46-year-old wife and mother-of-two was the senior duty nurse at the King Edward VII Hospital when two Australian radio DJ’s Mel Greig and Michael Christian called pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles. The phone call was made at 5:30 a.m. last Tuesday, before the hospital’s secretary had started work. Saldanha was helping out by answering calls when she was unwittingly tricked.

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In the wake of Saldanha's death, her family is demanding answers from the private hospital over the circumstances that led to the tragic end, saying an internal inquiry is not enough. Her husband Ben Barboza, 49, and their children Junal, 17 and Lisha, 14, have demanded to “know everything."

Labor MP Keith Vaz, who is representing the family, met hospital chairman Lord Glenarthur to demand a full inquiry into her death.

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Vaz, the chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said that "what the family need are the full facts. What the chairman of the hospital said to me was that there are inquiries going on in the hospital…that is not sufficient for the family.

"There are unexplained circumstances. The family want to know everything. All the facts, fully and clearly. The hospital needs to be more proactive, a full inquiry is needed and the family need to be included in that.”

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An NHS accountant, Barboza and his children live in Bristol, while the nurse stayed in staff accommodations at the West London hospital.

Vaz called the Saldanhas “a lovely close-knit family, a Catholic family, who will be spending their first Christmas without their mother, and for Ben, without his wife.”

He said the family was “in the dark about the hoax call" and "hadn’t watched the news or seen anything about it," not even knowing their involvement "until after Jacintha’s death.”

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Meanwhile, the radio station that employs Greig and Christian have canceled the station’s annual Christmas party, saying it wouldn’t be appropriate given the tragedy. In addition, Southern Cross Austereo, the company which owns 2Day FM, said it would be donating more than $500,000 to a memorial fund set up in the late nurse’s name by King Edward VII Hospital.

“We hope that by contributing to a memorial fund we can help to provide the Saldanha family with the support they need at this very difficult time,” said Rhys Holleran, Southern Cross Austereo’s chief executive.

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