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Australian diplomat Julian Simpson killed after falling from New York rooftop after game of trust goes wrong

Wednesday - 15/11/2017 17:12
AN AUSTRALIAN diplomat in New York celebrating the Yes vote has fallen to his death from a Manhattan roof when a game of ‘trust’ went horribly wrong.
The United Nations headquarters in New York. Picture: GettySource:Supplied
The United Nations headquarters in New York. Picture: GettySource:Supplied

A SENIOR Australian diplomat who was celebrating the yes vote died after a drunken game of “trust” went horribly wrong overnight in Manhattan.

Police confirmed to News Corp Australia that Julian Simpson, 30, was killed after falling from a seventh floor balcony to the second floor of his apartment building at 19 Clinton St in the Lower East Side shortly after 1.40am local time (5.40pm AEDT) .

An unconfirmed photo of Australian diplomat Julian Simpson (far right), at a sustainable development conference in Ecuador. Photo: Global Voices
An unconfirmed photo of Australian diplomat Julian Simpson (far right), at a sustainable development conference in Ecuador. Photo: Global VoicesSource:Supplied

They said Mr Simpson and a group numbering about 10 had gone upstairs to look at the Empire State Building which was lit with rainbow colours to celebrate Australia’s same sex marriage vote when he fell just after 1am (5pm AEDT) local time.

A spokesperson for The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed in a statement that the department “is providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian diplomat who died in New York. The family has requested privacy at this time.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Sunrise this morning: “It is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to his family. I can’t provide any more details at this stage. It’s a shocking tragedy – a young life lost.”

An NYPD spokesman confirmed the death was being treated as an accident.

Police sources also confirmed accounts given to the New York Post that Mr Simpson died while playing “trust”.

The Manhattan apartment block where Australian diplomat Julian Simpson fell to his death. Picture: Google
The Manhattan apartment block where Australian diplomat Julian Simpson fell to his death. Picture: GoogleSource:Supplied

‘TRUST GAME’

“I will prove it that you can trust me. Let’s play the trust game,” Mr Simpson reportedly said to a 24-year-old man just moments before he slipped and fell, sources said.

Mr Simpson was Australia’s second secretary to the United Nations. He lived with his wife at the Lower East Side apartment building where he died.

He regularly travelled overseas for work, including a recent trip to Ecuador where he was part of a 55-person delegation studying development.

Mr Simpson and his wife had been out with friends for dinner and drinks before the group returned back to the Clinton St residence and went up to the roof to the enjoy the views of the Empire State Building, which was lit up in rainbow colours in celebration of Australia’s same-sex marriage vote, witnesses said.

While on the roof , the diplomat, who serves as the second secretary to the UN for Australia, had climbed to a higher roof landing where he began swinging a female friend around, sources said.

An Australian diplomat to the UN has been killed after falling from a roof overnight. Picture: Stock
An Australian diplomat to the UN has been killed after falling from a roof overnight. Picture: StockSource:Supplied

Once he put her down, everyone decided to go back inside.

While inside, the 24-year-old man, who is the husband of the woman Mr Simpson had been swinging, confronted Mr Simpson over the gesture, sources said.

The two men then stepped back outside, where Mr Simpson told the husband that he meant no harm, according to sources.

To prove to the husband that he could trust him, Simpson suggested playing the “trust game” — in which Mr Simpson would lean back on the ledge and trust the man to catch him before he would fall.

Mr Simpson reportedly climbed onto the ledge and began to lean back.

The man told investigators that he put his arm out to catch him, but Mr Simpson slipped and fell to his death, according to sources.

Mr Simpson was rushed to Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police told News Corp the incident was being treated as an accident. The medical examiner’s office will determine the official cause of death.

All those who police interviewed admitted to drinking alcohol that night and cops reported a strong odour of booze on those involved, sources said.

The Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations is yet to respond to requests for comment.

An official at the Australian Consulate-General New York told the New York Postwhen reached by phone: “We have no comment at the moment.”

Source: News Corp Australia Network:

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