Still no justice for Jeremiah Duggan: Mum fighting to get ‘dangerous’ LaRouche group fully investigated 16 years on

Erica Duggan

Erica Duggan - Credit: Archant

German prosecutors have formally closed a second investigation into the 2003 death of Golders Green student Jeremiah Duggan – but his mother has slammed the process and lodged court proceedings in hope of forcing another.

Jeremiah Duggan

Jeremiah Duggan - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Erica Duggan’s son was 22 when his body was found on a dual carriageway near Wiesbaden on March 27, 2003.

Hours before his death, he had called her to say he was “in big trouble”, before the line went dead.

A police investigation at the time concluded it had been suicide, but this verdict was rejected by a UK inquest that year, when a coroner was told of the allegedly antisemitic LaRouche organisation that was headed by fringe American politician Lyndon LaRouche.

Jeremiah had been visiting the Schiller Institute – a far-right think-tank run by La Rouche – in the days before his death, taken in by their anti-war stance.

Photographs of Jeremiah Duggan

Photographs of Jeremiah Duggan - Credit: Archant

Erica told this newspaper: “We had all this information and we were hoping that in the last six years there would have been a proper investigation.”

Instead, Erica’s been sorely disappointed. She said: “They even went back to the same policeman who in 2003 did nothing.

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“It’s hard to keep going with this, it really is. But I’ve always thought it’s so important. I’m committed to finding out what happened and getting a proper investigation.”

Jeremiah, at the time studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, had been attracted to a conference at the Schiller Institute by its opposition to the Iraq war.

Erica Duggan with photographs of her som Jeremiah

Erica Duggan with photographs of her som Jeremiah - Credit: Archant

Almost 16 years later, Jeremiah’s family still do not know crucial details about the lead-up to his death. They do not know where he stayed the night before he was killed, who was chasing him, who attacked him, or why he feared for his life.

But Erica thinks the “revelation” that Jeremiah was Jewish would have angered members of the LaRouche organisation.

Serdar Kaya, who is representing the Duggan family, explained to the Ham&High what the new submissions argued.

He said: “The only way to get them to re-open the case is to show that the investigation was insufficient.

Jeremiah Duggan

Jeremiah Duggan - Credit: Archant

“We know from witnesses who made statements in 2009 that there’s someone behind this case, someone who chased and hit Jeremiah. The investigation has not looked into this sufficiently.”

Serdar added that police had done “nearly nothing” when it came to looking into this man, even though witness statements are said to show he “told his mother that they had hit and chased Jeremiah”.

Serdar said: “We don’t know who ‘they’ were. We don’t know what happened, but that’s the reason it needs to be investigated: to find out.”

Erica is hoping the death of Lyndon LaRouche on February 12 might make witnesses more likely to come forward.

She said: “The organisation was paranoid. After Jeremiah’s death everyone there was told to go away and never speak of what happened.”

The first investigation into Jeremiah’s death in 2003 saw the case closed without witnesses spoken to. In May 2015, a second inquest found Jeremiah did not commit suicide, and the right-wing extremist organisation may have used psychological violence during the conference in Wiesbaden.

Wiesbaden Prosecutors’ Office said it was unable to comment. The LaRouche organisation did not respond to our messages.