Golders Green mother writes to Angela Merkel alleging German cover-up of son’s death

16:49 28 May 2014

Erica Duggan outside Barnet Coroners

Erica Duggan outside Barnet Coroners' Court holding her letter to Angela Merkel. Picture: Mark Hakansson.


A Golders Green mother has delivered a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel accusing her government of being complicit in a cover-up of her son’s mysterious death in Germany in 2003.

Erica Duggan delivered the letter after speaking at a pre-inquest hearing at Barnet Coroners’ Court about the death of her 22-year-old son Jeremiah, a Jewish student who was found lying in a road near the German city of Wiesbaden with fatal head injuries in 2003.

German authorities ruled that Jeremiah had committed suicide by running into oncoming traffic but Ms Duggan insists her son came to harm at the hands of a branch of international political movement LaRouche, a cult suspected of fascist and anti-Semitic beliefs.

Ms Duggan visited the German Embassy today to deliver the damning letter addressed to Ms Merkel.

This morning, coroner Andrew Walker ruled that a second inquest into Jeremiah’s death would take place over three days in February 2015.

Ms Duggan, who has fought an 11-year battle in German and British courts for justice, testified in court today and made an emotional plea to Mr Walker to help her uncover the truth behind her son’s death.

Fighting back tears, she said: “I need to ask, what can I do? By fixing this date in the future – what does it do to my children and family?

“It means that day and night I sit in front of that computer, I don’t have time for my mother whose 101, I don’t have time for my daughters because I’m going to Germany.

“It’s an impossible situation and after 11 years I’m done with it and I’m sure our son doesn’t want us to go on. I’m up against a so-called democratic state with no mechanism to actually question the prosecutors of state. There’s nothing but institutional racism in Germany.”

At the time of his death, Golders Green-born Jeremiah was a student in Paris and had travelled to Germany for an anti-war conference organised by LaRouche.

Ms Duggan, a retired teacher whose family fled the Nazis in the 1930s, believes Jeremiah came to harm after becoming aware of the cult’s anti-Semitic views and challenging them.

Last week, the Ham&High reported Ms Duggan’s description of her son’s death as “the Stephen Lawrence case in Germany”, a view she repeated in court yesterday.

German lawyers representing Ms Duggan recently issued a legal complaint accusing German prosecutors of flouting a 2012 court order to re-open the investigation into the death following the emergence of new evidence.

Describing the re-launched investigation, Ms Duggan told the court: “I thought we were going to find out what happened to Jeremiah. But what we found out was that they went back to the very same police officer who we’d faced on that Friday in 2003 who had looked at us across the table and said, ‘We don’t have to investigate. This is suicide and we are not willing to investigate the people from this organisation.’

“After 11 years they go back to the same person who in my mind destroyed evidence. I asked for the clothes and the shoes and they were destroyed. I asked for [Jeremiah’s final] phone call to be traced, it wasn’t.

“What was happening was not in reality an investigation, just going through the motions.”

In November 2003, coroner Dr William Dolman recorded a narrative verdict after an inquest, ruling out suicide and concluding Jeremiah was in a “state of terror” when he died.

A new inquest was ordered by the High Court in 2010 after Ms Duggan obtained fresh evidence from a number of experts which indicated Jeremiah was not struck by any cars but was placed in the road and sustained head injuries elsewhere.

The German Embassy was unavailable for comment as the Ham&High went to press.

To find out more about Ms Duggan’s legal fight, visit

The family would also welcome any donations to support their costly legal battle. If you wish to support their cause, you can write a cheque out to “The Jeremiah Duggan Memorial Fund” and send it to BM Jerry, London, WC1N 3AX, United Kingdom.

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