Friday, 7 December 2012


A nurse at the private hospital treating the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge has been found dead in a suspected suicide three days after being duped by two Australian radio presenters in a hoax call.

The body of Jacintha Saldanha, 46, a mother of two teenage children, was found at her lodgings close to the King Edward VII hospital, central London, at 9.25am on Friday.

It is understood Saldanha, who lived with her family in Bristol but had worked at the London hospital for four years, was the staff member who had answered a telephone call at 5.30am on Tuesday from Sydney's 2Day FM presenters posing as the Queen and the Prince of Wales. Believing them to be genuine, she had put the call through to a duty nurse, who then divulged intimate medical details of the duchess's condition to the presenters.

Police and an ambulance were called to a flat in Weymouth Street, central London, at 9.25am where they found Saldanha's unconscious body. Attempts to revive her were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
You know, when I go on about voodoo death, socially-induced death, and social suicide, I'm sure a lot of people think I'm being trivial in some way, but I'm not. This stuff is lethally real.

The two Australian DJ's who enacted the original hoax were engaged, whatever their excuses to the contrary, in an attempted mana-theft, and the negative ramifications of this will dog both them, and William and Kate, for a long time to come.

The future just got a little bit more ugly.


Alex Niven said...

Phil, what is a mana theft? (Excuse my ignorance.)

Phil Knight said...

"Mana" is the Polynesian word for what we might call "charismatic authority". We perceive it as being purely metaphysical or anecdotal, whereas the Polynesians think of it as real tangible stuff.

What the DJ's were doing was mana-theft in two ways - firstly, and obviously, impersonating "higher status" individuals (Liz 'n' Phil), but secondly and most importantly, accessing privileged (i.e. taboo) information.

This kind of behaviour, as any self-respecting Polynesian high priest might tell you, is strictly a no-no.