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“I absolutely expressed concern”, says royal hoax DJ

By | Published on Tuesday 3 June 2014

Mel Grieg

Australian radio presenter Mel Grieg has commented on the hoax call she and colleague Michael Christian made to the hospital where the Duchess Of Cambridge was being treated for morning sickness in 2012.

Grieg and Christian phoned London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital, which was, at the time, caring for a then recently pregnant Kate Middleton, in a pre-recorded item for their show on the Southern Cross Austero-owned 2Day FM station in Sydney. Pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, they convinced one nurse to connect them to Middleton’s ward, and another into discussing her condition. The first nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, took her own life just days later.

Although Christian returned to the airwaves, and won an award, two months later, Grieg remained off air and later took legal action against SCA. This was resolved in December last year, with Grieg resigning from the company.

Appearing on Australian TV station Channel 7’s ‘Sunday Night’ show, Greig said that she had not been comfortable with the airing of the hoax call, adding that she had asked for it to be held back until proper permission from hospital staff involved in the recording could be obtained.

“I absolutely expressed concern”, she said. “As an announcer we are trained to always get permission if we’re going to broadcast something, and it just didn’t seem right that we’d broadcast that without permission and without doing what we’d normally do as announcers, so I was absolutely concerned. I should have tried harder not to let that prank call air. It never should have aired”.

An inquest into the death of Saldanha was scheduled to begin in September last year. However, this was delayed and is still to go ahead. Grieg has said she will provide a statement to the inquest.