Mum chose to be euthanised to ‘punish husband who got custody of their children’

Catherine Kassenoff and her husband Allan were embroiled in an ugly legal battle which ended in the worst way possible (Picture: Facebook)

A mum who took her own life at a suicide clicinc in Switzerland did it as a final punishment to her estranged husband for getting custody of their three children, it’s been claimed.

Catherine Kassenoff publicly announced in a lengthy note on Facebook on May 23 last year that she would be ending her life.

‘It is with a profound heartbreak, that I hope none of you ever experience, that I am writing my last post ever,’ she wrote. 

‘Today, I will be ending my own life… There are simply no other options left. In the last four years of my life I have woken up every day to a nightmare like no other.’

The 54-year-old, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, claimed that she could ‘no longer endure the abuse and terror’ she’d suffered at the hands of her husband Allan Kassenoff. 

Attempts to divorce had raged on for four years between the New York couple – who both worked as lawyers in the US – due to a brutal custody battle for the kids.

Allan was given sole custody of their three daughters and the terminally ill Catherine then decided to end her own life after she lost visitation rights. 

Allan Kassenoff was subjected to hatred and abuse after his estranged wife Catherine died (Picture: Greenberg Traurig LLP via Bloomberg)

Her decision sparked widespread hatred against Allan from strangers who would send him death threats and even track down his home to target him.

But now new details have emerged after The Free Press took an in-depth look into the circumstances of her death and spoke to those closest to the family.

Former nannies claimed Catherine had punished her own adopted daughter by ‘dripping water’ on her all day so she couldn’t sleep – and she’s accused of treating her other children, who were later born by IVF, far more favourably.

As well as her post on Facebook, Catherine also released videos of her husband and thousands of court documents via Dropbox.

One of the documents had been written by UK-based former psychiatrist Colin Brewer, who noted in a report for the Pegasos Swiss Association that Catherine was of ‘sound enough mind; to end her life. 

Pegasos helps people who aren’t on the verge of death to end their life, unlike the Dignitas suicide clinic.

Catherine had three children – one named Ally who was adopted and two other daughters her and Allan had together via IVF (Picture: Facebook)

Mr Brewer also revealed that Catherine had originally intended to kill herself twice before, with an original date in October 2022 postponed for administrative reasons. 

 ‘She was always very calm,’ said Mr Brewer, who had to rewrite medical reports for her each time. 

‘She got naturally a bit exasperated when talking about her husband. [She was] very clear about what she wanted to do and why she wanted to do it.’

Catherine’s cancer diagnosis was never the reason for ending her life, Mr Brewer said, but rather an ‘existential assisted suicide’.

He said: ‘She was just concerned that she had been treated abominably by her husband.’

No medical diagnosis was ever actually made by Mr Brewer and he reported that her choice to die was due to ‘understandable misery’.

Catherine announced on Facebook in May 2023 that she was ending her own life by assisted suicide (Picture: Derek Reed)

His report claimed that Catherine had made extensive arrangements for her children to find out about her death in the easiest way possible.

But her adopted daughter Ally told The Free Press that she only found out about her mother’s imminent suicide from the Facebook post.

Ally had been adopted by the Kassenoffs in July 2009 from a woman in Florida who was unable to look after her. 

The couple had been unable to conceive but did later have two more girls through IVF, however nannies who used to work with the family claim Catherine intentionally abused Ally because she wasn’t her biological daughter. 

Kim Hull, who worked for the family in 2009, claims she was once instructed by Catherine to keep the baby awake all day by dripping water on her head. 

Kim said she was told to do it so Ally would sleep through the night, but refused and said it was ‘abuse’.

On another occasion, the former nanny also said she took Ally to the doctor after she found marks on her back which looked like they’d been caused by fingernails digging into her skin.

Ally’s alleged torment didn’t end there, though, according to au pair Celine Dublanchet who started working for the family in 2016.

Celine claimed that Ally was locked in a dark basement for two hours as punishment by Catherine when she was just seven years old.

Ally was also told to go outside alone at night time to clean the garden in the middle of winter on a different occasion, according to Celine. 

The adopted daughter was also forced to sleep on a mattress on a floor in her room while her younger sisters slept in bed with their mum every night. Ally would then have to make the bed every morning, Celine claimed. 

Celine said Allan was ‘very nice’ but that he did have a temper and Catherine ‘pushed him to his emotional limits’. 

She added: ‘She wanted the girls to see their father be so angry. She did it on purpose, to have the children on her side.’

When Celine’s visa expired and she had to return to her home in France, she said she even ‘wanted to take Ally with me because I felt so sad and bad for her’.

After Catherine’s note was published online, TikToker Robbie Harvey, who campaigns for women in abusive relationships, uploaded a number of the videos Catherine had shared of Allan.

One video showed him getting annoyed and calling her a ‘fat old loser’, while he was heard telling Catherine he ‘hated’ her in another video.

And in other clips, he’s allegedly heard screaming behind doors and shouting at the children to shut up before leaving the home and refusing to take care of the kids.

One of their daughters can be seen crying in a video saying that she ‘doesn’t want to go with that crazy guy’.

Catherine’s videos were removed from Facebook but had already been shared by Harvey and seen by many of his three million TikTok followers. 

The abuse that Allan suffered as a result forced him to quit his job after an absence of leave in June.

Allan later sued Harvey for sharing the clips, claiming they led to emotional and financial ruin. 

His attorneys said in their report: ‘With a few clicks of his keyboard and a video uploaded to TikTok, Defendant Robert Harvey financially destroyed Plaintiff Allan Kassenoff.

‘And, even worse, irreparably harmed Mr. Kassenoff’s three young children… by forcing them into a life where their identities will forever be associated with a bitter and ugly divorce and the suicide of their mother.’ 

Harvey’s followers reportedly ‘bombarded’ the law firm where Allan worked with more than 500 phone calls and 7,000 emails blaming him for Catherine’s suicide. 

Allan was seeking more than £115million in damages for his loss of earnings and ‘destroyed’ reputation – the case was settled earlier this week for an undisclosed sum, reports MailOnline.

Recently, Harvey posted a nine-minute video apologising to Allan for sharing the clips posted by Catherine and admitted that he ‘made some mistakes in the reporting’ of their relationship. 

He added: ‘Catherine did not provide a complete record of what was happening. I echoed exactly what Catherine said.

‘I wish I would have known the whole story at the time when I was reporting the Kassenoff case.

‘But I did not. Now that more facts have been presented to me, I now see where I was wrong.’

Allan accepted Harvey’s apology but said the turmoil he suffered was what Catherine would have wanted. 

‘She set this all in motion,’ he said. ‘Whether she got lucky with Harvey picking this up, or she coordinated with him, either way: this is her dream.

‘Assuming she’s dead. Her dying wish and goal was to still hurt me and the kids.

‘It’s like she’s harassing me from beyond the grave.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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