The United Nations complex in Austria
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 Institute in Graz, Austria, which specialises in traumatology research, said 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 said:
‘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.
CTBTO staff monitor tremors in countries worldwide to uncover illegal nuclear tests. It has been suggested that Mr Hampton may have been involved in talks discussing nuclear testing in Iran. The UN has strongly denied the claims.
His body was discovered last Tuesday at about 8pm. Friends said it was usual for him to work late into the night. His widow, a weapons 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.’