The family of the British nurse who killed herself in December a few days after taking a prank call from two Australian radio hosts has been denied legal aid for the inquest into her death.
Jacintha Saldanha, was the first point of contact for the 2DayFM hosts when they called the King Edward VII Hospital asking to speak to the Duchess of Cambridge, who was admitted for severe morning sickness.
Ms Saldanha – who was working on reception even though she was a trained nurse - patched the call through to the Duchess's personal nurse, who gave a full report on her condition.
When the prank call became a media sensation it is believed Ms Saldanha suffered severe guilt and blamed herself for letting the prank call go so far.
A few days after taking the call Ms Saldanha took her own life.
According to the Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector James Harman three notes were found with Ms Saldanha's body when it was discovered in a room of the hospital.
Ms Saldanha is survived by her husband and two teenage children.
An inquest into her death is scheduled for March 26th, but Saldanha’s family fear they will never uncover the true cause of her death.
The family say they cannot afford the legal fees for a lawyer to act on their behalf at the inquest and question hospital administrators and directors about the reasons behind Ms Saldanha's death.
The family say they need to raise thousands of pounds to hire a lawyer and that sum is beyond their means, as Ms Saldanha was the family's chief breadwinner.
John Copper QC, who has been working pro-bono for the family, told The Independent they are increasingly agitated that they will be denied a chance to uncover who is to blame for their mother's death.
"The family is of the view they are being deprived their only opportunity to be assisted in a one-day or half-day hearing – the only hearing into what was a very tragic case,"
"They feel this will be the only opportunity they will have to find out exactly what happened to their relative," Mr Cooper told The Independent..
"They say they want to find out the…relevant circumstances which led to her death. Simply saying she committed suicide is not the end of the story; they say they want to know the rest of it."
Source: The Independent
Author: Eleanor Ainge Roy, Approving Editor: Nick Pearson