UK

Royal hoax DJ Mel Greig 'was sent bullets in the post'

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Media captionMel Greig tells Newsnight's Evan Davis: ''The trolling and the death threats were disgusting''

A radio DJ who took part in a hoax call after which a nurse killed herself has told of her own fears after receiving death threats and bullets in the post.

Mel Greig said: "I was in lockdown for months. There were bullets with our name on it sent to police stations."

She told Newsnight that at one point someone had rung her mother and said "eye for an eye, you deserve to die".

Jacintha Saldanha died in 2012, after the hoax call to a London hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge.

Ms Greig and colleague Michael Christian made their prank call to King Edward VII's Hospital in December 2012.

The Sydney-based Australians pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles asking about the duchess's treatment for severe morning sickness.

'Stalked and harassed'

Mrs Saldanha, 46, answered the call and transferred it to a colleague, who gave details of the duchess's condition.

Mrs Saldanha was found hanged three days later.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Jacintha Saldanha was found dead in 2012

In her first UK broadcast interview, Ms Greig told Newsnight on Monday that she will always feel at fault "to an extent" about her death.

"I was mentioned in Jacintha's suicide note - not the Australian DJ, my name," she said.

"She thought of me before she took her own life. How can you not feel guilt and blame? And I always will, but I have learnt to deal with it now."

Ms Greig revealed how she had been the victim of death threats since the incident.

"I don't want to sit here and go 'poor me, it was terrible'," she said.

"[The Saldanha family] have lost a wife and a mother, but the trolling and the death threats were disgusting."

She said as well as the bullets being sent in the post, she had been stalked and harassed for 18 months.

"That won't stop until I take my own life, which is not going to happen," Ms Greig added.

'Blood on hands'

"To me it's quite hypocritical. They are calling me a bully, 'look what you've done, you're a horrible person'.

"What do you think you are doing to me by writing those tweets and telling me to end my life or blood on my hands, 'you don't deserve to live'?

"Trolling needs to stop. Luckily I can handle it now, but there was a time when I could not handle it and I believed it."

She said the worst point was when someone rang her mother and threatened her with revenge.

"When you bring my mother into it and - I didn't want to cry - but it's just… that's unnecessary."

Ms Greig and Mr Christian were working for Sydney's 2Day FM when they made the hospital call.

Ms Greig quit at the end of last year.

Prank call caution

She said she would urge anyone in the radio industry thinking about making a prank call to seriously consider the potential consequences.

"Think about how it is going to affect the other person," she said.

"If you don't know them, if you don't know how they can handle it, don't do it.

"You just have to look out for each other.

"You cannot take the risk that someone's mental health is going to be able to handle that."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mrs Saldanha's family were supported by MP Keith Vaz (centre) at the inquest

She said of her own experience: "I actually have a real name. It's Mel.

"It's not the 'royal hoax DJ', but that is now who I am.

"I worked in radio for 15 years. It was my dream job that I worked so hard to get but now I am the 'royal hoax DJ' and that is horrible."

No charges

In February 2013, the Crown Prosecution Service said there was no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter against the two DJs.

At last month's inquest, Coroner Fiona Wilcox concluded Mrs Saldanha had taken her own life.

The coroner said the hoax call had been "clearly pressing on her mind" but that she had had "appropriate" support from the hospital.

Summing up, the coroner said four further calls made by the radio station were almost certainly received by Mrs Saldanha.

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