Australian royal prank call station donates to nurse's family

SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian radio station at the centre of a royal hoax call controversy where a nurse was found hanged in Britain has donated A$500,000 (S$570,880) to her family to "help them in the future".

Southern Cross Austereo said it was donating the money to a trust fund for Indian-born Jacintha Saldanha's family, and expressed its "deepest sympathy and sincere condolences".

"We do not assume, of course, that this donation or any amount of money could relieve the feelings of loss felt by Ms Saldanha's family but it is our hope that it may help them in the future," the broadcaster said in a statement late Friday.

The donation came as Mel Greig, one of the DJs who made the prank call to Prince William's pregnant wife Kate at a London hospital in December 2012, said after the inquest into Saldanha's death at the High Court in London that she was "truly sorry".

Southern Cross Austereo said it had fully cooperated with the inquest and "always accepted full responsibility for the making of the call and its broadcast".

"We also note that the coroner has said 'there is no causation as a matter of law between the hoax call and any subsequent voluntary action by Ms Saldanha'," the broadcaster added. "In summation, the coroner said the incident was not reasonably foreseeable."

Greig and co-host Michael Christian from radio station 2Day FM, which is owned by Southern Cross Austereo, called the hospital pretending to be Queen Elizabeth II and William's father Prince Charles. Saldanha, who put them through to the ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for severe morning sickness, hanged herself a few days later. The inquest ruled on Friday that Saldanha's death was a suicide.