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Royal hoax caller to testify at inquest into UK nurse's death

2day FM radio hosts Mel Greig (L) and Michael Christian, pose in Sydney in this picture obtained by Reuters on December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Sou
2day FM radio hosts Mel Greig (L) and Michael Christian, pose in Sydney in this picture obtained by Reuters on December 8, 2012. REUTERS/Sou

By Shadia Nasralla

LONDON (Reuters) - An Australian radio presenter will give evidence at an inquest into the death of a nurse who hanged herself after putting through a hoax call seeking information on Prince William's pregnant wife Kate, the presenter's lawyers said on Monday.

Mel Greig asked to appear as an individual at the inquest into Jacintha Saldanha's death, which provoked worldwide anger at the radio DJ's actions.

"(Greig) is determined to address any questions surrounding her role in these tragic events as part of the inquest," her lawyers Slater & Gordon said in a statement.

"Ms Greig wants (Saldanha's) family to know she will answer any questions the coroner or the family's lawyers may have at the inquest."

The inquest, which had been due to start in London this Thursday, has been postponed until September 12-13 while more evidence is gathered, a spokesman for Westminster City Council confirmed.

It was not immediately clear whether Greig will give evidence in person or via videolink.

Saldanha, 46, was found hanged last December in her hospital lodgings in London, days after she answered the call from Greig and her colleague Michael Christian from Australian radio station 2Day FM.

As part of the ruse, Greig and Christian had pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, William's father.

Saldanha put the call through to a colleague who, despite the DJs' unconvincing accents, disclosed details of the Duchess of Cambridge's condition during treatment for an extreme form of morning sickness in the early stages of pregnancy.

British newspapers reported that Saldanha, a mother of two, held the DJs responsible for her death in one of three suicide notes she left.

"Ms Saldanha's suicide was a devastating tragedy and Ms Greig's thoughts have been with the family ever since," her lawyers said in the statement.

2DayFM canceled the pair's show, which had been off the air since the incident, and Australia's media regulator has launched an investigation to see whether the station breached its license conditions and commercial radio codes of practice.

Southern Cross Austereo, parent company of the radio station, has also apologized and promised to donate advertising revenue to a fund for Saldanha's family with a minimum contribution of A$500,000 ($525,000).

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

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