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UK Inquest to begin into death of British student in Germany in 2003

Inquest to begin in the UK into the death 12 years ago of British student Jeremiah Duggan

Jeremiah Duggan

19 May 2015

The inquest into the death of a British student whose body was found on a German road in March 2003 will begin on 19th May 2015.

The three-day hearing marks the culmination of a 12-year struggle by his mother Erica Duggan, to understand how he died. 22-year-old Jeremiah Duggan, from north London, died after attending a youth event organised by the far-right LaRouche group in March 2003.

The German police initially concluded that his death was “a suicide by means of a traffic accident" and hence no investigation was necessary into the circumstances of his death.

But the Jewish student's family have never accepted that ruling and in May 2010 the High Court ordered a fresh UK inquest after judges said evidence of possible "foul play" must be investigated.

Last year in a pre-inquest hearing she told Andrew Walker, the coroner at the north London Coroner’s Court:

"We are back 11 years sitting in that police station waiting for them to investigate. Nothing has changed. All I want is a proper investigation in Germany."

Mr Duggan, from Golders Green, was described as being in a "state of terror" before he was found dead on the autobahn near Wiesbaden, a coroner said at the first inquest into his death in 2003.

A student at the British Institute and the Sorbonne in Paris, Jeremiah had believed he was going to an anti-war conference.

The High Court ordered a new inquest in 2010, saying fresh evidence asserted the death may have occurred elsewhere and the accident may have been "stage managed'' to look like a road accident.

An order to reopen investigations in Germany was issued after a court in Hesse "concluded that the facts as found by the prosecutor appeared to be impossible in the light of the evidence available".

But Mrs Duggan has filed a complaint about the conduct of the investigation in Germany claiming there was an unwillingness to investigate the matters identified by the English and German Courts.

Mrs Duggan’s lawyer, Merry Varney from the human rights team at Leigh Day said: “Over the last 12 years Erica has searched for answers about how her son came to his death shortly after calling her for help in the early hours of the morning.

“Despite the death occurring overseas, Senior Coroner Andrew Walker will now examine the evidence that has been gathered and try to determine the circumstances of Jeremiah’s death.

“He will be asked to hear evidence from experts specialising in cults and extremist groups on the role, if any, the La Rouche organisation may have played in Jeremiah’s death.

“We are very pleased that the Duggan family has secured this second UK inquest and we hope it provides clarity into the events surrounding Jeremiah’s death.

“If questions still remain after the hearing, we hope this will send a strong message to the German authorities to properly investigate the death of this young British student.”

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