Entries in Hoax (3)


Nurse Hoaxed by 'Queen's' Call to Kate Middleton Is Found Dead

Danny Martindale/WireImage(LONDON) -- The hospital receptionist who was hoaxed by a prank call from a DJ claiming to be the queen asking about Kate Middleton has been found dead.

"It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff," the hospital said in a statement released Friday.

The nurse was identified as Jacintha Saldanha. The hospital said that Saldanha worked at the hospital for more than four years. They called her a "first-class nurse" and "a well-respected and popular member of the staff."

"We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital," the statement said. "The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time."

The hospital extended their "deepest sympathies" to family and friends, saying that "everyone is shocked" at this "tragic event."

"She will be greatly missed," the hospital said.

Earlier this week, the hospital fell for a prank call from an Australian radio show where the hosts pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles looking to speak to Kate Middleton, who had been admitted to the hospital for her pregnancy. The call was put through to a second nurse who told the royal impersonators that Kate was "quite stable" and hadn't "had any retching."

Saldanha was the nurse who transferred the impersonators to the second nurse who gave information about Kate's condition.

"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha," a spokesman from St. James Palace said in a statement.

"Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time," the statement said.

Police were called to an address near the hospital at about 9:35 a.m. GT Friday to "reports of a woman found unconscious," according to a statement from Scotland Yard.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. "Inquiries continue to establish the circumstances of the incident. Next of kin have been informed," the statement said.

Circumstances of the death being investigated, but are not suspicious at this stage, according to police.

The duchess spent three days at the hospital undergoing treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum, severe or debilitating nausea and vomiting. She was released from the hospital on Thursday morning.

The Tuesday morning prank call came from Australian DJ's Mel Greig and Michael Christian. They impersonated the royals, complete with exaggerated accents. They even enlisted two co-workers to bark like the queen's pet corgis.

The Sydney radio station, 2DayFM, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Twitter accounts of both radio personalities have been deactivated, but it is unknown when the accounts were shut down. The DJs are being heavily criticized on Twitter, with many people calling for them to resign or be fired.

The queen impersonator asked for her granddaughter and was promptly transferred to another hospital employee.

"I'm just after my granddaughter, Kate. I want to see how her little tummy bug is going," the radio host said, suppressing laughter.

"She's sleeping at the moment, and she has had an uneventful night and sleep is good for her," the nurse said. "She's been getting some fluids to rehydrate her because she was quite dehydrated when she came in, but she's stable at the moment."

The fake royals went on to ask when would be a good time to visit and were told that "anytime after 9 o'clock would be suitable."

"She's quite stable at the moment. She hasn't had any retching ... since I've been on duty. And she has been sleeping on and off. I think it's difficult sleeping in a strange bed as well," the nurse said.

The hospital apologized for the mistake.

"The call was transferred through to a ward, and a short conversation was held with one of the nursing staff," the hospital said in a statement. "King Edward VII's Hospital deeply regrets this incident."

"This was a foolish prank call that we all deplore," John Lofthouse, the hospital's chief executive, said in the statement. "We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously, and we are now reviewing our telephone protocols."

The radio station has since apologized for the prank call.

"2Day FM sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the inquiry to Kate's hospital. The radio segment was done with lighthearted intentions," the station said in a statement.

"We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we'd be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents," the radio hosts said in the statement. "We're very sorry if we've caused any issues, and we're glad to hear that Kate is doing well. We wish Kate and her family all the best."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Australian Collar Bomb Hoax: Family Speaks Following Arrest

The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images(SYDNEY) -- The family of the 18-year-old Australian girl who had a fake explosive device attached to her neck in an extortion attempt said they are greatly relieved after an Australian man was arrested in connection with the incident halfway around the world.

Paul Douglas Peters is now in federal custody after he was arrested by an FBI SWAT team in La Grange, Kentucky, 30 miles northwest of Louisville.  Two police officers from New South Wales were present at the time of the arrest.

At a press conference on Monday, William Pulver, the father of the victim Madeleine Pulver, made a statement on behalf of his daughter and their family.

"We are enormously relieved that an arrest has been made in the United States overnight.  These past two weeks have been a very difficult time for us, and we hope that this development makes the beginning of the end for our family," he said, adding that the family will not be making any further immediate comment.

Sydney police say they identified Peters, an Australian who does business around the world, as the suspect last week and immediately contacted the FBI.

"Over the course of the last three or four days, the New South Wales police have been working very closely with the FBI in the U.S. The offender in this matter was identified and it was confirmed that he traveled to the United States in recent days," Andrew Sciopone, the New South Wales police commissioner in Sydney, said.

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, was stunned when officers descended on the home.

"We looked outside and we saw a SWAT team with the machine guns and battle helmets circling the house, and we had no idea what was going on," the neighbor said.

FBI agents searched the house for most of Monday afternoon and night after arresting 50-year-old Peters, according to ABC News affiliate WHAS-11 in Louisville.  Peters was living in Kentucky with his American ex-wife.

Police said that Peters does have family connections in the Louisville area and has previously lived in the United States. They said that he has been employed in several countries and has had history in several types of business.

The hunt for Peters began on Aug. 3 when the home of William Pulver, a wealthy CEO of an information technology company, was invaded by an intruder. Pulver's 18-year-old daughter Madeleine was studying for final exams when, according to New South Wales police, a man entered the home and attached the device to the girl's neck, along with a list of demands.

Madeleine Pulver spent 10 hours attached to the device before explosives experts determined to be fake. During the bomb scare, she was kept calm by four police officers inside the family home while her upscale neighborhood was evacuated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Collar Bomb Hoax 'Signed' by Character from Novel: Report

Agri Press/Thinkstock(NEWCASTLE, Australia) -- Australian police are puzzling over the clues reportedly left behind with a fake collar bomb: A USB stick inside the device, extortionate demands that don't include a dollar figure, and a signature by a character in a James Clavell novel.

It took police bomb squad experts more than 10 hours to remove the "very elaborate" device from the neck of 18-year-old Madeleine Pulver on Wednesday. It was only some time after the "bomb" was removed that they were able to determine it was a hoax.

The terrified and exhausted teen was taken out of her home in a stretcher.

Pulver has recovered from her ordeal, her parents said Thursday.

"I can tell you that we, as parents, we are extraordinarily proud of Maddy," said Madeleine Pulver's father William Pulver at a news conference Thursday morning. "She has woken up this morning in pretty good spirits. She's a little tired, a little sore from holding this damn device in place for about 10 hours."

Madeleine Pulver is the daughter of one of Australia's richest men and was alone in her family's house in Mosman, a wealthy suburb of Sydney when a masked man broke into the home, chained a bomb-like device onto her neck and then fled the property, police said.

"I can confirm for you that there was a letter attached to this device, a note attached to this device that did make certain demands. We are treating this as an attempted extortion," said Detective Luke Moore with the New South Wales police.

According to reports, the letter said that the device would explode if the teenager called the police, but she bravely called anyway at around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Soon after, a bomb squad and hostage negotiators arrived at the house. The neighborhood was evacuated and closed off as her terrified parents were forced to wait across the street.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting mysterious details from the letter left at the scene. Reports say the long, typed note did not place a price on the very specific demands it made. Police have not released the content of the letter or commented on reports that there was a USB stick embedded in the fake bomb.

The paper also reports that the cryptic letter was signed under the name of Dirk Struan, a fictional character from a 1966 novel called Tai-Pan by James Clavell. The character of Dirk Struan is a 19th century businessman who goes to extreme lengths to destroy his business rival and dominate Chinese trade.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio