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Court: Prank call nurse found hanging by co-workers

By Laura Smith-Spark and Jonathan Wald, CNN
updated 7:31 AM EST, Fri December 14, 2012
  • The nurse's body was formally identified by her husband, the inquest hears
  • Australia's media watchdog opens an investigation into the prank call by 2Day FM
  • Court: Jacintha Saldanha was found by co-workers hanging from a scarf
  • The nurse left three notes, two of them at the scene, a police officer says

London (CNN) -- A nurse who took a prank call from an Australian radio station apparently hanged herself using a scarf, but her reasons for pursuing that tragic course remain unclear.

Jacintha Saldanha was found last Friday by work colleagues hanging from a wardrobe door at her hospital living quarters, a coroner's court in London heard Thursday.

The nurse, who was married with two teenaged children, left three notes, two at the scene and a third with her belongings, Westminster Coroner's Court heard.

The content of the notes was not disclosed.

Read more: Who was Jacintha Saldanha?

UK media attacks Australian DJs
Radio network: 'Witch hunt' against DJs
Australian DJs break silence over prank

There were also "some injuries to her wrist," Detective Chief Inspector James Harman said.

The nurse put through the prank call December 4 to a nurse on the ward where Prince William's wife, Catherine, was being treated for acute morning sickness.

Some details of her condition were given to the radio DJs, who impersonated Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II.

The details around the circumstances of Saldanha's death emerged as an inquest -- a proceeding usually held in Britain when a death is sudden, unexplained or violent -- was opened.

The coroner's court was told that Saldanha's body was formally identified Tuesday by her husband, Benedict Barboza.

Police are looking at e-mails and telephone records, Harman said, and will speak to Saldanha's friends and co-workers about what could have led to her death.

Opinion: Prank call pitted 'the great' against the powerless

At this time there are no suspicious circumstances, he said.

Police will also be in touch with Australian police to find out what would be the best way of gathering evidence, Harman said. This could involve either going to Australia or collecting evidence remotely.

Saldanha, whose tragic death triggered wide public anger against the radio station involved, Sydney-based 2Day FM, was represented at the coroner's court by co-workers from the hospital.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority, the country's media watchdog, on Thursday opened a formal investigation into 2Day FM's broadcast of the prank call.

Social media users blast 2DayFM radio hosts

"The ACMA will be examining whether the licensee has complied with its broadcasting obligations," said chairman Chris Chapman.

The station's owner, media network Southern Cross Austereo, pledged Tuesday to donate at least 500,000 Australian dollars (US$524,000) to a fund for the nurse's family.

It lifted a moratorium on advertising Thursday, with all profits to the end of the year to go to the fund.

The 46-year-old nurse, who moved to the UK from India a decade ago, had worked at King Edward VII's Hospital, where Catherine was being treated, for the past four years

The coroner adjourned the inquest until a provisional date of March 26.

Radio personalities apologize for prank call

Part of complete coverage on
Prank call tragedy
updated 11:19 AM EST, Wed December 12, 2012
As the family and media search for answers, a picture emerges of a generous, caring woman who was caught up in a media maelstrom.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Tue December 11, 2012
Two DJs responsible for the prank call speak of their sorrow that a nurse caught up in the call apparently killed herself.
updated 4:56 PM EST, Sat December 8, 2012
Two DJs are under fire after the death of a nurse who received a hoax phone call. CNN's Matthew Chance reports.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Tue December 11, 2012
In this whole tragic affair Jacintha Saldanha was truly powerless, Ross Stevenson writes, explaining why airing the call was wrong.
updated 5:42 AM EST, Tue December 11, 2012
The apparent suicide of Jacintha Saldanha has provoked outrage, sadness and demands for retribution in all corners of the media.
updated 10:35 AM EST, Mon December 10, 2012
An Australian radio network defends its prank DJs, saying the media around the world has carried out a "witch hunt" against them.
updated 5:44 AM EST, Tue December 11, 2012
The hospital where a nurse committed suicide after being duped by a hoax condemned the station responsible in a strongly worded letter.
updated 5:44 AM EST, Tue December 11, 2012
The chairman of the Australian radio network has called the apparent suicide of one of the nurses duped by the prank "truly tragic."
updated 5:43 AM EST, Tue December 11, 2012
Many social media users were quick to point fingers at the two radio hosts who made the call and then promoted it on Facebook.
updated 12:53 PM EST, Fri December 7, 2012
Two Australian radio DJs made a prank call to the hospital where the duchess is staying, claiming to be Queen Elizabeth II and her son, Prince Charles.