In an interview with TV presenter Clare Brady, Mel Greig and Michael Christian said that they were “gutted, shattered and heartbroken” upon finding out that Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was a mother of two.
Greig said: “I haven’t stopped thinking about it since it happened and I remember my first question was ‘was she a mother?’”
Mrs Saldanha was found dead in central London on Friday morning – 48 hours after the 2Day FM presenters posed as the Queen and Prince of Wales. The pair stated that they didn’t think they’d even get past the switchboard.
“We’d assumed that we’d be hung up on and that’d be that”, Christian said during the interview, “The accents were terrible. You know it was designed to be stupid.”
The DJs were trying to contact the Duchess of Cambridge, who had been admitted to hospital for suffering Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness, after it was revealed that she was pregnant.
Saldanha believed she was talking to royalty and put the call through to an unnamed colleague, who gave details of the Duchess’s condition.
During their interview for A Current Affair, to be shown on Australian television shortly, the radio duo appeared beat down and distressed. They expressed their anguish over Saldanha’s death and hope that her family are getting the care and support that they need.
Christian said: “It doesn’t seem real because you just couldn’t foresee something like that happening from a prank call. You know it was never meant to go that far. It was meant to be a silly little prank that so many people have done before. This wasn’t meant to happen.’
Both DJs have deleted their Twitter accounts, after being bombarded with threatening messages and accused of having blood on their hands. They are also receiving counseling in case either of them attempt self harm.
When Brady questioned them over who has authority for what goes on air, Greig and Christian made it clear that there’s a process and people who make decisions over what is allowed to play.
Rhys Holleran, CEO of Austereo, the parent company of 2Day Fm said that the radio station had tried to called the hospital five times before the prank was aired.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told Sky News that the tragedy showed ‘just how passionately nurses care about their duty’.
He said: “I think the tragedy here was partly because that individual nurse did feel so awful about what had happened.”
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