Over the weekend, the Australian DJs whose prank call to Kate Middleton's hospital is being blamed for the suicide of the Duchess' nurse sat down to give their first public statements since news of the death broke.
The teary interview took place on Australian news program A Current Affair. Before beginning, host Tracy Grimshaw informed viewers that the segment was unpaid and unedited. (Full interview here.)
In the footage, co-hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian appeared as miserable and fragile as one would expect. Both broke down in tears multiple times over the course of the questioning. The most commonly repeated refrain was that "[no one] could have predicted" the prank would end so tragically.
Early on in the segment, Grimshaw asked the DJs how the idea to call the hospital originated. Here's Mel Greig's response:
"We thought a hundred people before us would have tried it. We just thought it was such a silly idea, and the accents were terrible. Not for a second did we expect to even speak to Kate, let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on."
Greig added that, when the operator stated she was transferring the DJs' call, Greig expected to be put through to "some kind of complaints area," the hospital had established for pranksters trying to reach the Duchess.
Greig and Christian say they were informed of Jacintha Saldanha's suicide early Saturday morning.
Asked of their immediate response to the news, Christian, the more composed of the duo throughout, broke down:
"Shattered, gutted, heartbroken and obviously our deepest sympathies are with the family with the friends and all those affected. Obviously Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for this situation and what's happened. And we hope that they're doing okay and they're getting the love and support that they need and deserve right now, but personally I'm... [begins crying] ...gutted."
"There's not a minute that goes by that we don't think about her family and what they must be going through and the thought that we may have played a part in that is gut-wrenching."
In a second interview with another news program, Greig said her first question upon receiving the news was "''Was she a mother?'''
Asked whether the DJs thought prank calls should be banned from radio, an anguished Greig responded "I don't even want to think about going back on air to be honest."
After news of the suicide broke, the parent company of the DJs' radio station announced that the hosts were suspending themselves until further notice.
[A Current Affair, video via]