London: The children of a nurse found hanged after she was duped by a hoax phone call to the hospital treating Prince William’s wife Catherine told a mass in her memory on Saturday her death left “an unfillable void”.
Indian-born Jacintha Saldanha, 46, apparently killed herself in nurses’ accommodation at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London last week.
She had taken a call from two Australian radio DJs posing as Queen Elizabeth II and William’s father Prince Charles, which led to details of Catherine’s severe morning sickness being made public.
In a joint tribute read out on their behalf during the mass at Westminster Cathedral, the nurse’s daughter Lisha, 14, and son Junal, 16, said: “We are shattered and there’s an unfillable void in our lives.
“The house is an empty dwelling without your presence,” they added.
“You worked tirelessly to give us everything that we have today.”
A relative of the family said after the service that the funeral would take place in the nurse’s home town of Shirva in India on Monday.
Her husband Benedict Barboza, 49, held hands with the couple’s two children as they arrived for the mass at the cathedral, the main Catholic church in England.
In his tribute, the nurse’s husband said: “You were the light in my darkness, you always showed me the way forward. I feel part of me has been ripped out.
“Nineteen years of togetherness with a strong bond of affection and understanding will be cherished forever in my life. Your loss is a very painful one and nobody can take that place in my life ever again. I love you and miss you forever.”
The family had also attended a candlelit vigil in Bristol, the city where they live in southwest England, on Friday.
After it emerged that Saldanha had left three notes, one of which reportedly criticised the hospital, its chief executive John Lofthouse said the nurse was reassured on a number of occasions by senior management after the hoax.
Writing in reply to Keith Vaz, a British lawmaker who has helped to comfort the family, Lofthouse said Saldanha was the victim of a “cruel trick” and senior staff did not blame her and offered her time off and counselling.
“Following the hoax call, Saldanha was reassured on a number of occasions by senior management that no blame was attached to her actions and that there were no disciplinary issues involved, because she had been the victim of a cruel trick,” Lofthouse wrote.
Australian police said on Thursday that death threats have been made against Michael Christian and Mel Greig, the DJs from Sydney’s 2Day FM radio station who made the hoax call.
The presenters, who have been undergoing counselling, remain off air and have not been seen in public since making tearful apologies in a television interview on Monday.