The radio presenters who made the British royal prank call have told of their devastation upon learning that the nurse they spoke to had taken her own life.
2DayFM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian were in tears as they spoke to A Current Affair's Tracy Grimshaw, two days after Jacintha Saldanha was found dead.
"It was the worst phone call I have ever had in my life," Greig said, speaking of the moment she learnt the tragic news.
"There's not a minute that goes by that we don't think about her family and what they've gone through. The thought we played a part in that is gut-wrenching," she said.
"We both found out about the same time. It was early Saturday morning when we were told," Christian said.
"We're shattered. We're people too."
The pair said they were thinking of Ms Saldanha's husband and two children.
"I've thought about this a million times in my head that I've just wanted to reach out to them and give them a big hug and say sorry. I hope they're okay, I really do," Greig said.
"We just hope they get the love, support and care that they need."
The pair called the hospital where Kate Middleton was being treated for morning sickness last week pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles.
Ms Saldhana was the nurse who answered the call and transferred them to another staff member who gave away details of the duchess's condition.
The pair said they never predicted their phone call would be put through and it was meant to be a light-hearted joke.
"It was completely innocent and we just expected to be cut off at every point," Christian said.
"I expected us to be put through to a complaints area," Greig said.
"We didn't think that it would have the tragic outcome [it did]. At every single point it was innocent on our behalf, it was something that was fun and light-hearted," Christian said.
"The idea was never let's call up and get through to Kate or let's speak to a nurse – the joke was our accents are horrible and they don't sound like who they were intended to be," he said.
Greig went on to say that prank calls had been "around for years" in the radio industry.
"We've done many a prank call. It was routine for us, it wasn't anything different to us," she said.
The presenters did not say whose decision it was to broadcast the recorded call, only that it was given the okay by people in another department.
"This was put through every filter that everything goes to before it goes to air. We just made the phone call and that was it on our behalf," Christian said.
Greig added: "We don't get to make those decisions. Our role is just to record and get the audio and wait to be told if it's okay or not okay."
Christian said the pair were still trying to make sense of the tragic turn of events and he felt "shattered, gutted and heartbroken".
"We're still trying to work our way through it ... obviously Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what's happened," he said.
He also repeated his co-hosts comments that prank calls were commonplace in the industry, saying: "Prank calls are made on every radio station on every day around the world and they have been for a long time - no one could have imagined this to happen."
The presenters have been in hiding and undergoing counselling since news of Jacintha Saldanha's death broke on Saturday.
An Austereo spokeswoman has described the UK media's backlash against the radio hosts as a "witch hunt".
"No one has looked at the hospital; it is quite easy to blame us. The hospital were very quick to get their statement out," Southern Cross Austereo spokeswoman Sandy Kaye was quoted as saying in Britain's Telegraph newspaper.
"It is much sexier to attack an Australian radio network without having done your homework to find out how much responsibility we actually bear.
"I don’t want to shift the blame. It [the prank call] is much sexier than the issue of depression or talking about what led someone to a suicide … The Australian industry seems to sit quite fairly behind us. It was only supposed to be a harmless prank."
Austereo CEO Rhys Holleran said 2DayFM tried to contact the King Edward VII Hospital "on multiple occasions" to discuss the pre-recorded prank call before it went to air.
In a video statement on Austereo's website Mr Holleran said Greig and Christian, who phoned the hospital pretending to be members of the royal family, were "distraught" over the nurse's death.
"It's a tragic event and one that we could never have reasonably foreseen," Mr Holleran said.
"Nevertheless, the company is deeply saddened and our staff and all of us, our hearts go out to the family."
He said Austereo would fully cooperate with investigations.
The presenters have been taken off air and advertisers have reportedly suspended their accounts with the broadcaster.
Chairman of the hospital Lord Simon Glenarthur called the hoax "appalling" in a letter to Austereo and urged the company to ensure such calls never happened again.
Yesterday Ms Saldanha's 14-year-old daughter Lisha wrote some touching words in honour of her mother on Facebook.
"I miss you. I loveee you," she wrote.
The nurse's husband, Benedict Barboza, also expressed his grief on Facebook.
"I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances," the 49-year-old hospital accountant said. "She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India."
Greig and Christian may face questioning by police after a request from Scotland Yard.
"I have to stress it hasn't been indicated to us that an offence has occurred," NSW deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas said.
"They have not asked for anything yet. They simply touched base and let us know of their interest and they will get back to us if they want anything done."