Funeral held for royal hoax nurseJacintha Saldanha

BY: Abigail Bonsu

The funeral of a nurse who apparently killed herself following a royal hoax call in London has taken place in her Indian hometown.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was buried at a church in Shirva, just outside Mangalore on the south-west Indian coast.

Her family accompanied the cortege and were joined by hundreds of mourners.

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The nurse had taken a prank call about the Duchess of Cambridge who was being treated for acute morning sickness.

Two presenters on a Sydney-based radio station convinced staff they were the Queen and Prince Charles, and were connected to the duchess's private nurse and given an update on her condition.

Large congregation

Mrs Saldanha, who transferred the call, was found dead days later, in nursing accommodation attached to the King Edward VII hospital. She had left three suicide notes, her inquest last week revealed.

Mrs Saldanha's funeral was preceded by a private prayer ceremony at her home in Shirva, attended by close friends and family.

A closed casket containing the nurse's body was then carried into the Catholic church, accompanied by her husband and two children.

Religious leaders and politicians were among those attending the funeral.

The ceremony, conducted in the local Tulu and Kannada languages, was presided over by the district bishop.

Authorities made special arrangements to accommodate the hundreds of mourners, including deploying additional security and setting up barricades.

The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder said not many people remembered the last time such a large congregation had turned out.

"Shirva is a close-knit, small community. Most families here have a relative working and living overseas - mostly in the Middle East and the UK - so this is a tragedy which has hit everyone and affected them deeply," he said.

Mrs Saldanha's husband, Benedict Barboza, visited the cemetery before the service to look at the grave where she will be laid to rest. - BBC