Lord Hurd's daughter-in-law has been found dead after apparently committing suicide by jumping from the roof of her home in New York.
By Jon Swaine in New York 7:30PM BST 22 May 2011
Catherine Hurd, who is thought to have been a mother of five, fell the four storeys from the top of the building where she lived with the former foreign secretary's son Thomas, a British diplomat.
Mrs Hurd, 46, left no note but New York police are believed to be treating the case as a suicide. “All we can say is that no criminality is suspected,” a spokesman told The Daily Telegraph.
Officers were asking neighbours over the weekend whether they had heard anything from the couple's home in the hours before the death. One said yesterday she had heard “voices around midnight”.
It is thought Mrs Hurd was due to return to London next week as her husband, 45, is at the end of a stint working as a senior British official at the UN. He is described as a “political counsellor”.
Mrs Hurd was discovered at 4.27am on Saturday morning, on the pavement outside her home. Police had arrived at the building, on the upper east-side, after receiving an emergency call.
She was taken the 1.1 miles to Cornell University Medical Centre by paramedics, but was soon pronounced dead.
A man who described himself as a relative last night answered the door at the Hurds' home – which was listed as available for rent last year at $15,000 (£10,000) a month – but he declined to comment.
One neighbour who did not wish to be named, told reporters that Mrs Hurd was a “lovely woman, very pleasant, always smiling” and had lived in the building for about six months.
The neighbour said she had “seemed normal and happy” on the day she died and recently donated books for a street sale, as she was due to be leaving New York soon.
A detective called later in the morning and “wanted to know if I heard anything”, said the neighbour, who added she “heard voices around midnight. Not an argument but people talking.”
Mr Hurd is a former investment banker and was a contemporary of David Cameron's at Eton and Oxford, where he was two years ahead of the Prime Minister.
He read Arabic and Modern Middle Eastern studies at Oxford between 1983 and 1987 and worked for Credit Suisse First Boston before joining the Foreign Office in 1992.
For the past few years he has been in New York, where he is listed as working for the British delegation on the UN security council, specialising in the middle east, G20 and Africa.
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A neighbour described Mr Hurd as "very busy". On his page on LinkedIn, a business networking site, he says he is "personally keen on studying the interaction between business and geopolitics".
His father was one of the Conservative government's most senior figures in the 1980s and 1990s.
He served both Lady Thatcher and John Major as foreign secretary, after also serving as home secretary.
Lord Hurd has three sons from his marriage Tatiana Hurd, including Thomas and Nick Hurd, the Conservative MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. He also has a son and a daughter from his second marriage to Judy Hurd, who died in 2008.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We can not comment on the personal circumstances of any of our staff.”
Mrs Hurd’s husband is a Middle East expert working with the United Nations Security Council, where 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.
Catherine Hurd, a mother of five, plunged more than 40ft to her death from the roof of her New York home