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Young Australian Diplomat Dies After Tragic Balcony Fall In New York

The 30-year-old fell from a balcony after apparently playing a 'trust game'.

16/11/2017 1:00 AM AEDT | Updated 16/11/2017 11:31 AM AEDT
Fairfax Media/Global Voices
Julian Simpson, far right, was Australia's second secretary to the United Nations.

Australian U.N. diplomat Julian Simpson, 30, has fallen to his death in a tragic incident following a night out with his wife and friends.

Reports suggested Simpson slipped off a rail on the balcony of at his Lower East Side apartment.

According to Fairfax Media, the tragic accident happened around 1:40am after a group of ten people gathered at the Simpson's Cooper St apartment for drinks after a night out at a local restaurant.

An NYPD spokesman told Fairfax Media the friends have been interviewed extensively throughout the night.

"Upon investigation, it was determined that... he sat on the balcony railing and lost his balance and fell off," the spokesman said. "No criminality is suspected at this time and the investigation is ongoing," the NYPD spokesman said.

He has disputed a story that the friends had been playing a 'trust game' before the accident. However, The New York Post has reported that the game had been played just before Simpson's fall from the seventh floor apartment.

Fairfax Media
Julian Simpson, far right, at a conference in Ecuador.

Simpson and his friends apparently went to the rooftop of their apartment block to enjoy the view of the Empire State Building, which had been lit up in rainbow colours to celebrate Australia's vote for same-sex marriage.

According the the Post, Simpson climbed to a higher roof landing where he picked up and swung a female friend around.

When he put her down, the group went back inside where the husband of the woman confronted Simpson over the appropriateness of his behaviour.

The Post reports that the men stepped out onto the balcony, where Simpson assured the man he meant no harm to his wife.

It was then that Simpson, according to the Post, allegedly played a 'trust game' where he would lean back on the ledge, trusting that the man would catch him before he fell.

Fairfax Media
The Lower East Side apartment building in Manhattan, where Australian diplomat Julian Simpson fell to his death.

The man told police he put his arm out to catch Simpson, but he slipped and fell to his death. Police have ruled out foul play.

Simpson began his career in foreign affairs following a media career. He was working as the second secretary to the U.N. for Australia.

He often represented Australia at the U.N. and recently travelled to a sustainable urban development conference in Ecuador.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has released a statement about the tragic incident.

"I extend my condolences to the family and loved ones of Julian Simpson, a young Australian diplomat who has died in tragic circumstances in New York. Julian was a diligent, professional and highly skilled diplomat, whose support I valued, particularly during UN Leaders' Week," Bishop said.

"He will be remembered as someone dedicated to the service of our nation as a member of Australia's foreign service. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to provide support to Julian's family, and to other Australian diplomats in New York who have lost a valued colleague."

"I ask that the media and others respect the privacy of Julian's family at this difficult time."

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