THE family of the nurse found hanged after being tricked by a prank call from two Australian radio presenters described the “unfillable void” left in their lives as a mass was held for her at Westminster Cathedral yesterday.
Jacintha Saldanha, a mother of two, was found hanging in her nurses’ quarters at the private King Edward VII Hospital by a colleague and a security guard on 7 December.
The 46-year-old nurse transferred the call, believing disc jockeys Mel Greig and Michael Christian were the Queen and Prince of Wales, to a colleague who described in detail the condition of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, during her hospital stay for severe pregnancy sickness.
The mass was held “for the repose of the soul of Jacintha and her grieving family”, a cathedral spokesman said.
Following the service, Saldanha’s husband Benedict Barboza and children Junal, 16, and Lisha, 14, paid tribute.
Fighting back tears, Barboza said: “My wife, you were the light in my darkness, who always showed me the way forward. You always stood by me in times of hardship and happiness. I feel a part of me has been ripped out.”
Son Junal said: “Our mother, kind hearted, generous and a well respected woman in both of our lives. You were the core of the family who kept us together.
“In times of difficulty you showed us the way forward to happiness and success.”
Daughter Lisha said: “We will miss your laughter, the loving memories and the good times we had together.
“The house is an empty dwelling without your presence. We are shattered and there’s an unfillable void in our lives.
“We love you mum, sleep in peace and watch over us until me meet again in Heaven. We will always love you and keep you close to our heart.”
Standing outside the cathedral alongside their local MP Charlotte Leslie and MP Keith Vaz, who has been campaigning on behalf of the family, Barboza said the family “could not have foreseen the unprecedented tragedy that has unfolded in our lives”.
He thanked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as Prime Minister David Cameron for their condolences.