A celebratory evening went horribly wrong after a senior Australian diplomat fell to his death in Manhattan.
Julian Simpson was enjoying a night of dinner and drinking with his wife and friends on the eve of the Australian Yes vote victory when a drunken game of “trust” turned terrifying.
NYPD confirmed that the 30-year-old died shortly after 1:40 a.m. when he fell from a seventh floor balcony to the second floor of his apartment building at 19 Clinton St. on the Lower East Side.
Police gathered that Simpson and a group of ten others had gone upstairs for a view of the Empire State Building, which was lit with rainbow colors in honor of Australia’s successful same sex marriage vote.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shared the following statement on the Sunrise morning show: “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.”
NYPD officials confirmed the death was being treated as an accident that occurred while playing “trust”- a game in which a person deliberately allows themselves to fall, relying on spotters to catch them.
Neighbors have noted the railings and walls of the rooftop are low, and that voices of people partying on the roof could be heard that evening.
Simpson served as Australia’s second secretary to the United Nations, and he regularly traveled for work. He lived with his wife at the apartment building where he died.
Sources say that, after a friendly gesture was misinterpreted, Simpson suggested playing the “trust game,” in which he leaned back on the ledge and trusted a male friend to catch him before he fell. The man told investigators that he put his arm out to catch him, but Simpson slipped and fell to his death.
When first responders arrived, they discovered Simpson unconscious and unresponsive. He was rushed to Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police say that witnesses admitted to drinking alcohol that night and a strong order of booze was detected on those involved.
Photo: Simpson is on the far right.