Catherine Hurd 45


I was taken aback to read tonight of the apparent suicide of Catherine Hurd, wife of Douglas Hurd’s son Tom.

The Hurds and Murrays lived in adjoining identical semi-detached houses while we worked together in the British Embassy in Warsaw – we were both First Secretaries in the Embassy. Frankly, the Hurds were not very interested in people outside their own social milieu. But Catherine had her first child while they lived next door, and seemed an extremely devoted mother. They now have five children of which the youngest must still be very young. I cannot understand the circumstances and causes of this tragedy. For a mother of young children, living a life without the slightest problem in providing for them, to kill herself seems very strange indeed. I feel very sorry for the children.


45 thoughts on “Catherine Hurd

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    It may – or may not – be instructive also to remember that the families of spies (and as stated earlier, it has been alleged that Mr Hurd ‘Junior’ might be, of have been, an SIS Officer) experience unique types of stress about which, one imagines, they cannot talk to anyone, not even a therapist (unless the therapist had been vetted with the highest level of security clearance – Craig would know about that sort of thing, but it might be an Official Secret). If you want to read more about this ort of thing, check out Corinne Souza’s books. her father was an SIS agent (not an SIS officer, but an agent with a regular salary). ‘Jasmine’s Tortoise’ (novel – she put the stuff she couldn’t put into her memoir into the novel, I think) and ‘Baghdad’s Spy’ (the memoir). she was the child of a spy and children were deeply affected by the whole process of systemic social lying, etc. Interesting reads.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    It also, in my experience, takes a hell of a lot – a hell of a lot – for a mother of young children to kill themselves. Most of those who do so (who ‘succeed’ in doing so) have been clearly disturbed, on drugs of abuse and/or psychotic, and well-known to various services, etc. Nearly all mothers will go through almost anything rather than leave their young children in such a way. Fathers tend to be slightly different in this regard (generalising again). This is another peculiar aspect of the case. Missing some of her children would be unlikely to be a trigger for her to kill herself, particularly as he was due to be re-united with them in days. And of course, it would’ve been easy for her to have put them into an elite school in NYC, if she’d wanted – although (from what Ms Souza writes) in the 1960s and 1970s, the kids of spies went to approved schools in Britain; that may be of relevance, though I don’t know if it’s still the case nowadays.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    One also finds oneself wondering how the police were able to state so quickly that no criminality was suspected. I mean, it wasn’t as though it was witnessed. A woman is found dead in her back garden having fallen from a great height. On the face of it, that’s not a straighforward case… is it?

  • glenn

    Understood, Suhayl, and this hardly seems like a cry for help. That’s why it seemed unladylike for a number of reasons – not giving much of a hint beforehand (apparently), a violent method of suicide, leaving her children motherless and so on. The girls who jumped off Erskine bridge… I remember that, terribly sad. When living in San Francisco, the Golden Gate bridge was hugely popular for suicides, we’d hear about it all the time. Even though there are plenty of cliffs around to achieve the same result, people would come far and wide for the GG-bridge. It seems that a long drop into water is regarded as a cleaner end than hitting solid ground, even though water after a 250-foot drop is effectively solid. Nevertheless, several people – despite significant injuries – still managed to swim to the side after throwing themselves off. It seems that a survival instinct is still that strong despite prior intentions.

  • mrjohn

    There is no rational explanation for suicide because people who commit suicide are not behaving rationally, with the exception of people with terminal, debilitating or extremely painful diseases. Mothers do opt out and leave their children, which is preferable to them deciding to take their children too, which also happens.

    The cause for concern here is that people appear to have had no prior warning, in the cases of suicide I have encountered over the years one of the sad facts was that it was a shock but not a surprise. The hard question to ask is whether or not people missed the signs, though the brutal fact is that even when the signs are there it is not easy to steer someone onto a safer course.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, Mrjohn, that accords with what I’d written in one of my posts, above. That’s often been my experience of people/families as well. Mothers of young children do take their own lives, but it’s less common, in my experience, at least outside of the groups I mentioned earlier.

    On a more suspicious note, one wonders whether someone (who?) was trying: 1) To get at Douglas Hurd in some way, assuming he’s still influential in some way in such circles, or 2) To get Hurd’s son off whatever he was working on at the UN. He’s likely to be quite senior, one would’ve thought, if he was a 1st Secretary with Craig some years ago.

    I’m just slightly surprised that the police seem to have drawn their conclusions extremely early on. I mean, it’s not a RTA, where there’s a car and a pedestrian, say, and where both are present. Might this not a ‘hit and run’ (so to speak?). Unless there’s material information about which we have no idea at this point, which is entirely possible.

  • glenn

    So “bootlicker” Angry is now acting as gopher for Aaronobitch? I referred to such lapdogs earlier half in jest – I had no idea that crawling up that fat Nazi’s arse really was considered Quality Time for a True Believer, no matter how cravenly they vouch for establishment positions.

  • Suhaylsaadi

    Tragic, indeed. Speculation is rife: 'Death by Fall from a Great Height' – a job for CSI? Accident, suicide, or murder? Was someone trying to get at Hurd Junior (was he an SIS Officer, as has been alleged in places on the web?), to get him off whatever he was doing at the UN? Or at Hurd Senior in some way? Was she alone in the house at the time? Was this a hit? The police seem to have concluded very speedily that this was not murder. Perhaps they are privy to evidence of which we are unaware. But I am suspicious.

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