- Catherine Hurd is the daughter-in-law of former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd
- Married to UN Middle East expert Thomas Hurd
- Neighbour heard voices talking in apartment around midnight on Friday
- Said Mrs Hurd was 'always smiling'
- Couple seemed 'perfectly normal and happy'
The wife of a top British diplomat has plunged four storeys to her death from the roof of her New York home.
Mystery surrounds the circumstances of Catherine Hurd’s death, just a week before she and her family were due to return to Britain.
The mother of five was married to diplomat Thomas Hurd, the son of Conservative veteran and former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, 81, now Lord Hurd of Westwell.
Mrs Hurd was found in the early hours of the Saturday morning near her home close to the United Nations building.
Her husband Thomas is a Middle East expert working with the UN Security Council.
Mrs Hurd, 46, was rushed to hospital by paramedics.
A police spokesman said she was ‘unresponsive with severe trauma’ and was pronounced dead at Cornell Medical Centre.
Police in New York are not treating her death as suspicious but refused to say whether they believe she committed suicide.
They said no note was found.
'There is no suspicion of criminality at this time,' said a spokesman for New York Police.
Mrs 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 thought to have been involved with negotiations over Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Hurd appeared on a list of alleged MI6 agents posted on the internet in 1999, although the authenticity of the list has been questioned.
The Hurds had been in New York for several years and moved to the rented $15,000-a-month townhouse in a quiet, tree-lined street recently.
Mr Hurd’s posting to the UN had come to an end and the family were preparing to return to Britain next week. Neighbours said they were about to move back to Battersea, South-West London.
LEADER WHO SHAPED BRITISH FOREIGN POLICY
They said at least two of their children were already educated in London.
Mr Hurd is a contemporary of British 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.
'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.
The Foreign Office refused to comment on Mrs Hurd’s death. There was also no comment from the family.
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, a conversation. 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.'