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Jacintha Saldanha's family hold emotional funeral on home soil in India

17 DECEMBER 2012

The family of tragic hoax call nurse Jacintha Saldanha have laid their relative to rest on home soil. Jacintha's husband Ben Barboza, 49, and their children 17-year-old Junal, 17, and Lisha, 14, were joined by hundreds of locals at a service in Mangalore, India, where they were seen arriving on Monday amid a cluster of local reporters.

 

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The ceremony took place at a Catholic church in the late mother's hometown of Shirva in Karnataka state, where some of her relatives still live. Earlier, the family were united as they attended a private prayer ceremony at home.

As they said their final goodbyes to their mum, Jacintha's children were held close by their father and supported by locals who  turned out in their droves in a show of solidarity. Ben and his children are now expected to remain in the town of Shirva while they come to terms with their loss.

On Saturday, Westminster Cathedral also honoured the 46-year-old with a memorial service. In a short statement, a spokesperson for the Cathedral said the mass was offered "for the repose of the soul of Jacintha and her grieving family."

 

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Another ceremony was held on Friday at King Edward VII Hospital in central London where the mother-of-two was remembered by colleagues saddened by her death.

The employee of the exclusive facility died in what appeared to be a suicide, 48 hours after radio station 2Day FM broadcast a prank during which Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian posed as Prince Charles and the Queen.

Jacintha put the call through to the ward where the pregnant Duchess was being looked after for severe morning sickness. Another nurse, thinking she was really talking to the monarch and the Prince of Wales, gave out personal medical information concerning the royal, who has since been released and has recovered from hyperemesis gravidarum.

 

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Three suspected suicide notes were left before Jacintha's death, an inquest heard. In one of the letters, she criticised fellow staff at the hospital where she worked. Another directly referred to the Australian DJs behind the 2Day FM prank, while a third outlined details and preparations for her funeral.

Both DJs at the centre of events have expressed their deep sadness and regret over the tragic outcome of their actions. Speaking on Australian TV they described themselves as "shattered, gutted and heartbroken".

During one of the chats, for programme A Current Affair, Mel spoke of Jacintha's family, saying: "I've thought about it a million times. I want to reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say 'sorry'. I hope they're OK. I really do."

Her colleague Michael added that he hoped Jacintha's family get the love, support and care that they need. He said: "It is nothing more than a tragic turn of events that no one could have predicted and, you know, for the part that we played, we're obviously incredibly sorry."

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