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Apparent ‘suicide’ of Golders Green student Jeremiah Duggan was a ‘set up’

PUBLISHED: 14:45 19 May 2015 | UPDATED: 17:35 19 May 2015

Jeremiah Duggan died on a motorway in Wiesbaden, Germany

Jeremiah Duggan died on a motorway in Wiesbaden, Germany

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Forensic expert tells inquest apparent suicide-by-road-accident of 22-year-old British student in Germany is likely to have been a “constructed set-up”

Jeremiah's mother Erica Duggan has called on the British Police to step in and work with German authorities. Picture: Nigel SuttonJeremiah's mother Erica Duggan has called on the British Police to step in and work with German authorities. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Jewish student Jeremiah, 22, from Golders Green, was found dead on a motorway near Wiesbaden on March 27 2003 after he attended a youth event organised by the LaRouche “far-right cult”.

German police said his death was “a suicide by means of a traffic accident” after witnesses claimed they saw Mr Duggan try to jump out in front of several cars on the morning of his death.

But the original British inquest into Mr Duggan’s death in 2003 rejected a verdict of suicide after hearing about the LaRouche movement and its German think-tank, the Shiller Institute and allegations of its leader’s anti-semitic links.

Since then Mr Duggan’s family have been fighting for 12 years for the case to be reopened.

Hugo Duggan, pictured in 2010 during the family's Justice For Jeremiah campaign. Picture: Nigel SuttonHugo Duggan, pictured in 2010 during the family's Justice For Jeremiah campaign. Picture: Nigel Sutton

They won a victory in May 2010 when the High Court ordered a fresh UK inquest after judges said evidence of possible foul play must be investigated.

As the new inquest opened at Barnet Coroner’s Court in north London today, forensic photographic expert Paul Canning said that after examining pictures from the scene, “the only possible conclusion is that it must have been a set-up”.

Mr Canning, who has over a decade of experience working with the Metropolitan Police, said there was no evidence of contact between Mr Duggan and two vehicles - a Peugeot 406 and a Volkswagen Golf - which the German investigation found had been involved in his death.

He said: “After making a lengthy examination of the photographs I conclude that, based on my experience of attending hundreds of fatal and very serious road traffic accidents, that in examining the scene of the accident, the road, Jeremiah’s body and both vehicles involved, I could find no traces of blood, hair, tissue or clothing on the vehicles or road, except round the immediate vicinity of Jeremiah’s body.”

He added that both vehicles and Mr Duggan appeared to have traces of a wet sandy substance which was not present at the scene and therefore placed them elsewhere before the alleged accident.

He said the damage to the Peugeot, which is claimed to have hit Mr Duggan, appeared to have been caused by a “heavy metallic instrument” or possibly another car rather than a person.

He described damage on the Volkswagen, which is said to have run Mr Duggan over after he jumped out and hit the Peugeot, as “inconsistent”.

Coroner for north London Andrew Walker asked: “Are you saying the damage to the vehicles is unlikely to have been caused by an impact with a person?”

“Yes sir, in my opinion,” Mr Canning repled.

“Is it likely that damage to the vehicle has been placed there?”

“After looking at the photographs the only possible conclusion I could find was that it was placed there and further, that it looks like pre-existing damage that was undertaken prior to this incident.”

“Are you saying this was a constructed road traffic collision?”

“It certainly looks that way, sir.”

As reported in the Ham & High previously, Mr Duggan, a student at the Sorbonne University of Paris is said not to have been aware of the nature of the group before attending the event.

On the morning he died he called both his girlfriend and mother and allegedly sounded “agitated”.

He told his mother, Erica Duggan, 45 minutes before he was killed: “Mum, I am in deep trouble.”

The family, who were at the inquest today, won another victory in December 2012 when the German Higher Court ruled that the Wiesbaden authorities’ original investigation had been flawed and opened a new inquiry, which is still ongoing.

Mr Duggan’s father Hugo told the inquest this afternoon that a witness had later informed the family about “chaotic scenes” at the Schiller Institute youth event following his son’s death.

He told the court: “All the members were gathered into a room and addressed by Helga Zepp-LaRouche (the German wife of leader Lyndon LaRouche).

“At this stage she said, ‘Jeremiah Duggan is dead, we believe he was a spy sent to harm the organisation. I would like you to pack up and go home right away. Don’t talk among yourselves about this and don’t talk to others’.”

Mr Duggan’s father also claimed that the German ambassador to London told the family: “We know all about LaRouche, we have been after him for years.”

He wiped away tears as a birthday card his son had sent him for his 60th birthday - shortly before he died - was read out in court.

In it Mr Duggan told his father he would be back “real soon” and they would be able to celebrate together.

Asked by Anthony Metzer QC, representing the family, to describe his son, he said Mr Duggan was “very popular” and “delightful company”, with a “mischievous sense of humour”.

He claimed his son was not political but got interested in world affairs following the 9/11 attacks.

“He had a great social consciousness and sense of fair play and humanity about him,” Mr Duggan said.

The inquest was adjourned to tomorrow at 10am.

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