Mystery deepens over Vienna UN death
November 1 2009
By David Rogers
A British nuclear expert who fell from the 17th floor of a United Nations building did not commit suicide and may have been hurled to his death, says a doctor who carried out a second post-mortem examination.
Timothy Hampton, 47, a scientist involved in monitoring nuclear activity, was found dead last week at the bottom of a stairwell in Vienna.
An initial autopsy concluded that there were “no suspicious circumstances”. But it is understood that Mr Hampton’s widow Olena Gryshcuk and her family were deeply unhappy with that verdict.
Now a doctor who undertook a second post-mortem examination on behalf of the family believes she has found evidence that Mr Hampton did not die by his own hands.
Professor Kathrin Yen, of the Ludwig Boltzmann Forensic Institute in Graz, Austria, which specialises in traumatology research, told the Mail on Sunday she had more tests to complete on Mr Hampton, who had a three-year-old son with Ms Gryshcuk.
But she said one possible theory was that Mr Hampton was carried to the 17th floor from his workplace on the sixth floor and thrown to his death.
Professor Yen used new forensic techniques to detect internal bruising caused by strangulation which would not be visible to the eye.
She told the Mail on Sunday : ‘In my opinion, it does not look like suicide. My example is that somebody took him up to the top floor and took him down.
“At the moment I don’t have the police reports. We did a CT scan. From the external exam, I saw injuries on the neck but these were not due to strangulation.”
It is expected to take three weeks for blood test results to come back. Austrian police said they believe Mr Hampton committed suicide.
He had been working for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) at the UN building and the Austrian Times has been told that Mr Hampton may have been involved in talks discussing nuclear testing in Iran. The UN has strongly denied the claims, although Mr Hampton’s title – processing engineer – meant he was “part of the team maintaining and operating the International Data Centre Division application software to generate and distribute data products and services to CTBTOs 182 Member States”.
This meant he was responsible for monitoring a vast array of technical data from hundreds of monitoring stations around the world in the hope of discovering any illegal nuclear activity – including Iran. In fact although CTBTO officials were reluctant to admit it, of the 300 plus monitoring stations set up globally there are at least two in the geographical area of Iran sending data back to Vienna.
In addition both the CTBTO and the IAEA that organised the recent Iran talks are in the same complex – the IAEA occupies A and B buildings while the CTBTO is in E building – both are covering the same subject matter.
Mr Hampton’s body was discovered last Tuesday at about 8am. Friends said it was usual for him to work late into the night. His widow, an inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was working in Japan when her husband died.
A source close to the family said life had not been easy for Mr Hampton, who was often away from his wife and son.
But the source added that he was ‘not the suicide type’. He said: ‘Tim was rather introverted. He changed his life many times.’
Trained in Britain as a bio-chemist, Mr Hampton worked in a bio-lab before moving into construction.
He then worked on nuclear test-ban projects before joining the UN in 1998, said the CTBTO.
The IAEA, an independent and separate organisation, inspects nuclear plants worldwide and is based in the building next to the CTBTO in Vienna.
Under a year ago, an American died at the IAEA in strikingly similar circumstances, his body being found at the bottom of a stairwell.
A UN spokeswoman said an investigation into that case continues, though Austrian police have concluded it was suicide.
She said: “This might have been a copycat thing in the CTBTO.”
October 22 2009
Brit UN nuclear expert may have been murdered, police say
By Thomas Hochwarter
A British nuclear energy expert who plunged 40 metres to his death at the United Nations’ (UN) building in Vienna may have been murdered, police said today (Thurs).
Timothy Hampton died on the spot on Tuesday after falling from a 17th floor window at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) – one of the UN’s three headquarters.
The UN confirmed the death of the 47-year-old – who was involved in disarmament negotiations with Iran as a member of the UN’s Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) – but refused to give any further information on the circumstances of the fatality.
A police spokesman told the Austrian Times today that investigators had not ruled out murder as no suicide note has been found.
“Whenever there is a case where others may have been involved we will investigate all the possible scenarios. Murder is one possibility, suicide another,” the spokesman said.
He added investigators were waiting for the result of an autopsy.
UN staff told the Austrian Times yesterday that there had been a similar case just recently in which an employee died when he fell from a similar height at the landmark buildings in Vienna-Donaustadt.
British nuclear expert dies in 40-metre plunge
By Thomas Hochwarter
Police are investigating after a British nuclear energy expert involved in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme fell 40 metres to his death from a UN building in Vienna.
Officials announced today (Weds) that the man – named as Timothy Hampton – died on the spot yesterday after a fall from the 17th floor at Vienna International Centre (VIC), one of the United Nations’ (UN) main headquarters along with New York, Nairobi and Geneva.
Authorities said the 47-year-old man – a member of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) – had joined the UN’s current talks with Iran over its nuclear programme.
Investigators refused to reveal any further information on the case but said they ordered an autopsy.
Speaking to the Austrian Times, Anne Thomas – a press spokesperson at the UN in Vienna – said: “All I can confirm is that a male staff member of the CTBTO was found dead at the bottom of a stairwell in the E Building at the Vienna International Centre at 8.30 on Tuesday morning.
“Vienna police are investigating the incident and there is nothing else we can say,” she added.
UN staff told the Austrian Times that there had been a similar case recently in which an employee died when he fell from a comparable height.
Oddly enough Vienna is where Canadian passports were stolen from to use in an assassination attempt of Khalid Mishal by Mossad agents.