Family fight for answers nine years after son Jeremiah Duggan’s death

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 April 2012 | UPDATED: 14:24 05 April 2012

Erica and Hugo Duggan have criticised the Foreign Office for its 'lack of support'. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Erica and Hugo Duggan have criticised the Foreign Office for its 'lack of support'. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London,NW37QX. Phone 020 7794 3008. email

The mother of a Golders Green student who died in Germany is still battling to piece together her son’s final hours as she marks the ninth anniversary of his death.

Jewish student Jeremiah Duggan, 22, was found dead in Wiesbaden on March 27, 2003 having travelled to the country to attend a conference against the Iraq war put on by LaRouche - not knowing it is a far Right organisation which has been accused of being a political cult.

Just an hour before his death he had desperately called his mother and told her: “Mum, I’m frightened, I need your help.”

Erica Duggan this week told the Ham&High: “It was very harrowing. It is the most terrible call to have received from a son. I am frozen into that moment.

“I am still trying to help him by finding out what happened to him that day. He asked for my help and nine years later I am still trying to help him.”

Witnesses said a man ran into the centre of the road and was hit by a brown Peugeot 406. An initial police investigation classified his death as suicide.

But questions were raised over the investigation after it emerged that witnesses were allowed to the leave the scene and cars were moved before being photographed.

The suicide verdict was rejected by a British coroner in 2003, and in 2010 the High Court granted Mr Duggan’s family a new inquest.

But the family’s optimism at this decision has soured as two years on the inquest remains adjourned following two preliminary hearings and investigations appear to have stalled.

Mrs Duggan, a retired teacher whose family fled the Nazis in the 1930s, says she feels abandoned by the Foreign Office.

She claims the German authorities have failed to interview key witnesses and crucial questions over her son’s death remain unanswered.

“The Foreign Office hasn’t supported us or put pressure on German police to investigate my son’s death,” she said.

“I would have thought the authorities would have wanted to set an example to see justice done for a British citizen, but then they behave like this to me. What kind of world do we live in?”

She added: “I feel I have been obstructed and my time wasted, but I am not going to let it stop me fighting to discover the truth.”

Frances Swaine, a leading human rights lawyer at Leigh Day who has been working with the Duggan family for seven years, called on the government to put pressure on the German authorities to reopen investigations.

She said: “I understand there are Foreign Office interventions that could have been made but haven’t. They could put severe pressure on the German goverment and they have chosen not to.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said he could not comment specifically on the inquest’s proceedings, but said staff had provided consular support to Mr Duggan’s family since 2003.

He added: “The Foreign Office cannot interfere in another country’s judicial system, just as they cannot interfere in ours.

“Any decision to re-open the investigation into Jeremiah’s death remains a matter for the German authorities alone.”

For more information on the campaign visit

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:30

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

There are more than 3,000 homeless families housed by Haringey Council in temporary accommodation in the borough and more than another 1,000 housed outside the borough according to Trust for London.

Yesterday, 15:23

A woman from Temple Fortune turned have-a-go-hero and chased a pair of criminals – causing them to drop a wad of stolen cash – after an elderly woman was robbed at a Temple Fortune cashpoint.

Yesterday, 13:15

Haringey Police are appealing for infomration after a 40 year old woman was sexually assaulted on a Muswell Hill Bus.

Yesterday, 12:53

Two rogue swans rapidly regretted the decision to land on the Hampstead Heath ponds when the resident swan family chased them off the water and left them “a bit battered” on a grass verge.

Yesterday, 12:51

Westminster City Council has announced plans to bring its housing programme back in house for the first time in 16 years.

Two hundred years ago, while lodging locally, John Constable completed a series of paintings memorialised Hampstead as a sleepy village, then perched past the outskirts of London: the very model of idyllic country living.

Yesterday, 11:16

A reward of £10,000 is being offered for information into the 2013 disappearance of Kilburn man Robert Duff – who police believe may have been murdered.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now