Kate hoax Australian interview: Key extracts

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The Australian radio hosts at the centre of the royal hospital hoax say they are "gutted and heartbroken' over the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha. Mrs Saldanha was found dead on Friday, three days after taking the hoax call. Here are excerpts from interviews they gave on Monday.

ON LEARNING OF THE DEATH

Michael Christian and Mel Greig Michael Christian and Mel Greig gave two interviews to Australian TV

Mel Greig told Channel 7's Today Tonight programme: "Unfortunately I remember that moment very well because I haven't stopped thinking about it since it happened and I remember my first question was 'Was she a mother?'."

Channel 7's Clare Brady replied: "When you found out she was - of two children - how did you feel?"

Greig replied: "Very sorry and saddened for the family. I can't imagine what they'd be going through."

Christian responded: "Gutted. Shattered. Heartbroken."

He then added: "We're still trying to get our heads around everything. Trying to make sense of the situation."

In a separate interview on Channel 9's A Current Affair programme, Greig said: "I wanted to just reach out to them and to give them a big hug and say sorry.

"Not a minute goes by that we don't think about the family and what they are going through, and the thought we may have played a part is gut-wrenching

ON PRANK CALLS

Greig told Channel 7: "It doesn't seem real because you just couldn't foresee something like that happening from a prank call. You know it was never meant to go that far. It was meant to be a silly little prank that so many people have done before. This wasn't meant to happen."

Christian said: "I don't think that anyone could have predicted what could've happened. It was just a tragic set of circumstances that I don't think anyone could have thought that we'd be here."

"These are prank calls. They've been around for as long as radio's existed and they're done by every radio station."

Christian told Channel 9: "It was something that was just fun and light-hearted and a tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected.

"We are shattered, heartbroken and our deepest sympathy goes to the family, friends and all those people affected. Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what's happened," he added.

ON THE CALL ITSELF

Christian told Channel 7: "The call to begin with wasn't about speaking to Kate. It wasn't about trying to get a scoop or anything. The call was just - I mean we'd assumed that we'd be hung up on and that'd be that."

Greig said: "The accents were terrible. You know it was designed to be stupid. We were never meant to get that far from the little corgis barking in the background - we obviously wanted it to be a joke."

Christian: "The joke was always on us, not anyone else. It wasn't about trying to fool someone. I mean we just assumed that with the voices that we put on, you know, we were going to get told off and that was the gag - on us."

ON BLAME AND RESPONSIBILITY

Christian said: "This phone call is the same with any phone call, with any pre-recorded segment that goes to air, there's processes in place and people that make those decisions."

Greig added: "It went through the processes of every other recorded bit that we do - from interviews to, you know, anything at all that gets recorded and passed on to the appropriate people, goes through the process, and we're told whether it's yes or no to play."

ON THEIR SURPRISE AT GETTING THROUGH

Greig said: "We couldn't believe that it had worked, absolutely. You didn't expect it to. We thought 100 people before us would've tried the same thing. We just did not see that actually working."

She added: "We just wanted to be hung up on. We wanted to be hung up on with our silly voices and wanted a 20-second segment to air of us doing stupid voices."

Christian added: "There's no malice in the call. There was no digging. There was no trying to upset or get a reaction."

He added: "The call itself was not malicious and no harm was intended on Jacintha, or the other nurse, or Kate, or Prince William, or anyone. It wasn't. From start to finish, there was no harm intended. And obviously, we're incredibly sorry for the harm that we may have helped contribute [to]."

ON THE PUBLIC AND MEDIA BACKLASH

Asked about whether she felt they were victims of a "witch-hunt", Greig replied: "There's nothing that can make me feel worse than what I feel right now. And for what I feel for the family. We're so sorry that this has happened to them."

She added: "If we played any involvement in her death then we're very sorry for that. And time will only tell."

ON THE FUTURE

Brady asked: "What are you guys going to do then? Are you going to pursue your DJ careers?"

Greig replied: "I don't want to think about that right now. There's bigger, more pressing issues and that's making sure that family gets through this tough time. You know our careers aren't important at the moment."

Brady asked the pair if they were willing to testify at the inquest next year and come face-to-face with Mrs Saldanha's family.

Greig replied: "If that's going to make them feel better then I'll do what I need to do, absolutely. If that's something that they want to do, to get some closure, then I'll do that."

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