The wife of a British diplomat plunged to her death early yesterday from the roof of her Manhattan apartment in what police are calling an apparent suicide. Read more details after the jump…
(DailyMail)–The wife of a top British diplomat has plunged four storeys to her death from the roof of her New York home. Catherine Hurd, a mother of five, was found in the early hours of the Saturday morning near her home close to the United Nations building. She was due to return to the UK in one week’s time.
Her husband Thomas is a Middle East expert working with the UN Security Council, the son of former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd.
Mrs Hurd, 46, was rushed to hospital by paramedics where she was pronounced dead.
Police in New York are not treating her death as suspicious and believe she committed suicide.
‘There is no suspicion of criminality at this time,’ said a spokesman for New York Police.
The spokesman confirmed no suicide note was found.
Hurd lived in a family home on E84th Street in New York’s fashionable Upper East Side. The building is listed as being rented at $15,000 a month. Her husband Thomas, 45 is a expert on the Middle East and a member of the UK team attached to the United Nations Security team.
A former investment banker, he studied Middle East Affairs at Oxford University and has been in New York for several years where his official position is a political counsellor. He is a contemporary of Prime Minister David Cameron having been at Oxford University at the same time.
Hurd was also at Eton where he was two years ahead of Mr Cameron. Before joining the Foreign Office in 1992 he worked as a investment banker for Credit Suisse First Boston. A biography on his LinkedIn page reads: ‘I have spent almost thirty years covering and living in the Middle East and have particular experience in the political and financial arenas.
Lord Douglas Hurd, 81, has served as Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
A widower with five grown-up children, he now divides his time between homes in London and the Cotswolds.
The Conservative politician and writer was the first in his family to attend Eton, the prestigious English boarding school also attended by Princes William and Harry. He said the school ‘changed the course of my life’. From Eton he went on to Trinity College, Cambridge.
In 1952, after graduating with a degree in history, he joined the Diplomatic Service. He was posted overseas to China, the U.S. and Italy before leaving the service in 1966 to enter politics. In 1979 he became Minister for Europe, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in 1984. In 1985 he became Home Secretary under Margaret Thatcher for four years. Then, from 1989 to 1995 under both Thatcher and John Major, he took on the role of Foreign Secretary. Generally well-respected for his experience and intellect, Hurd left the House of Commons in 1997. He was made a Baron and so was entitled to serve in the House of Lords.
He has also authored several political thrillers.
His son Thomas, husband of Catherine, has followed his father’s footsteps into the Diplomatic Service.
‘Based now in New York working on the UK UN Security Council team. I am personally keen on studying the interaction between business and geopolitics at present as we witness such major shifts in the way international institutions, both private and public.
It was reported by the local media that Hurd was due to return to the UK next week after his posting to the United Nations came to an end.
As a member of the UN Security Council he would have been heavily involved in negotiations over Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Sunday afternoon an elderly, well-dressed British gentleman who would only say he was a relative answered the door to the four-story town house that Mrs Hurd is said to have fell to her death from. He said he had no comment on what had happened.
Neighbours in the apartment block told the MailOnline Mrs Hurd was a happy mother of five.
One, who did not want to be named, said she had seen Mrs Hurd on the day before she died. ‘She seemed perfectly normal and happy when I saw her last,’ the woman said.
‘The week before she had brought over some boxes of children’s books that she was donating for my street fair. She didn’t want to carry them back to London.
‘We knew she was going back next week. Then on Friday I met her on the street as she was coming home and I was leaving and she told me she would bring me over some more books before she left.
‘Next thing I heard a detective called at my door at 7am on Saturday morning and told me what happened. I couldn’t have been more shocked or surprised. He wanted to know if I heard anything but I slept right through it.
‘She was a lovely woman, very pleasant, always smiling friendly and polite. She always said hello when I saw her in the street.
‘Her husband seemed to be very busy when he came and went so I didn’t know him much. But they couldn’t have been better neighbours.
‘They’ve lived here about six months. I think they had dinner parties occasionally for UN people. They just seemed like a perfectly normal and happy couple.
‘She did not seem maladjusted or unhappy but was always smiling. It’s terrible what happened. I can’t believe it.
”I came back from the theatre on Friday night and heard voices around midnight. Not an argument but people talking. So I don’t think she was home alone but I can’t be sure. It’s just terrible.’
Another neighbour told the MailOnline: ”They were just a typical family. Seemed like a very normal couple. Perfectly happy.
‘I would see her coming and going with her kids. She would look stressed some times but no more than any other parent with their children. They kept to themselves but were always polite.’
A police spokesman said Mrs Hurd was found at 4.27am on Saturday.
‘Police responded to a call and found a 46-year-old woman outside 445 East 84th St unresponsive and with severe trauma,’ said a spokesman.
‘She was taken to Cornell Medical Centre where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
‘There is no criminality suspected at this time.’
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: ‘We cannot comment on the personal circumstances of any of our staff.’