Sunday, 9 December 2012

Royal prank - horrible story but no one committed murder

via Flickr from Muffet
No one dialed for murder
And not even nearly...

The news that the nurse who was taken in by prank calling Australian DJ's may have committed suicide is truely awful. Not least because she leaves two teenage children.

But there's a savage noise building. It's the sound of howls of indignation and outrage as Tweeters bay for the blood of someone... anyone.

Only there isn't really anyone directly to blame, is there?

For those under a rock, this happened not long after the Duchess of Cambridge's extreme morning sickness (not barfing off a cliff, but that would be a much more entertaining interpretation) was announced.

Poor pukey Kate was holed up in hospital while the rest of us speculated, told each other we'd known all along and tried to work out other ways to join the party.

A pair of radio DJs in Australia - with a habit of Robin Galloway-style phone pranks - came up with a great wheeze. They'd ring and pretend to be The Queen and Prince Charles asking how their grand daughter in law's gestation was going. Hil-ar-ious.

A poor nurse got this pair on the phone and fell for it. Even if she had her doubts she was unlikely to say "Excuse me your maj, you're not you, are you?"

The resulting call in which the nurse revealed details of Kate's condition was broadcast on the radio. And pretty much elsewhere.

Even Prince Charles had a bit of a chortle about it.

And we'd all moved on and started to forget about it... until the nurse was found dead. Suspected to have killed herself.

Now the radio DJs are the worst kind of evil and their station not much better.

Let's have a look at where the fault really lies:


  • Arguably the hospital should have briefed their phone staff better.
  • Possibly the radio station could have found a different victim. Or they could just not do wind-up pranks.
  • Some say they should always ask victims for permission before broadcasting their humiliation.
  • Then, perhaps, people could stop tuning in and listening to the pranks - which, like all other entertainment in this genre - is just bullying dressed up as humour.
  • Or maybe the public could cease to find anything to do with the younger Mrs Windsor fascinating. It's not a fluke that websites and publications are jam packed with royal tosh.
  • How about that the hospital could have supported their staff member better?
  • Alternatively, her friends and family might have tried harder.
  • What if laws were tighter, broadcasters better regulated? 


You see. Everyone, one way or another, contributed to the death of this poor woman. Yet, no one could reasonably have foreseen this might happen. 

It's really important that perspective is maintained. There's no doubt those involved feel awful enough without rabid lynchmobs circling them - online or otherwise. 













2 comments:

  1. I totally agree with this. I can't help thinking this poor nurse must have had other issues and maybe this tipped her over the edge but surely it can't be just that right? No one feeling generally well and happy would take their own life for simply making a mistake because after all that's what it is, a mistake. I am convinced we don't have the full picture and these Australian DJs, as stupid they may be they can't be held fully responsible for it. That's my personal opinion anyway.

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  2. I think you're not supposed to say committed suicide any more, it's no longer a criminal offence.

    Actually, I won't listen to radio stations that do this kind of thing, I don't buy newspapers/magazines that run this kind of story and I do my best to stay away from their websites. So I don't think I'm culpable.

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