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Golders Green couple are closer to truth about their dead son

PUBLISHED: 15:45 13 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:36 07 September 2010

Erica Duggan

Erica Duggan

A Golders Green couple who have spent five years campaigning to find out more about their son's death have finally won a step towards a re-investigation. Erica and Hugo Duggan, who are separated, have fought tirelessly to find out more about what happened

A GOLDERS Green couple who have spent five years campaigning to find out more about their son's death have finally won a step towards a re-investigation.

Erica and Hugo Duggan, who are separated, have fought tirelessly to find out more about what happened to their 22-year-old son Jeremiah, who was found dead in Germany in 2003.

German authorities claimed the student had committed suicide by throwing himself into motorway traffic, but new expert investigations paid for by the family argue he had been beaten prior to death.

Last Friday Lord Justice Wyn Williams listened to the findings at the high court and gave consent for the family's next step towards a second UK inquest. Mr Wyn Williams said there were "sufficiently unusual features about this case" which meant it would be "wrong to refuse permission" to the family.

The finding means the Duggans can now get a judicial review on the Attorney General's decision to block their request for a second inquest.

If they win that case, they will be allowed to argue for the inquest in a high court case and if they are successful there they will win a second inquest.

Leigh Day & Co, acting on behalf of the family, has requested that the Attorney General allow the case to go immediately to the final High Court hearing "in the interests of saving public money".

Mr Duggan was in Germany after joining the Schiller Institute, a group with links to the controversial LaRouche organisation for a conference.

He called his mother the night before his body was found telling her he was in trouble and asking for help. The next day, German police informed Mrs Duggan that her son had committed suicide on a motorway in Wiesbaden.

The family claim there should be a second inquest into Jeremiah's death on the basis of the new expert advice but also because of failings in the first hearing. Mrs Duggan went to visit the pathologist from that inquest, who said he didn't believe Jeremiah's injuries came as a result of the collision with a car.

On Friday her barrister, Dinah Rose, argued that the first inquest assumed suicide as "the only game in town", which is why in the light of new findings, a second one is necessary.

Although pleased with the result, Mrs Duggan said she was angry that the appeal process looked likely to be so lengthy. She said: "What kind of justice makes a bereaved mother fight through the courts like this for the right to find out why her son died?

"Why do I have to sit here listening to the details of how my son was found in the road because the coroner failed to carry out a full and frank investigation?

"I am very pleased I got the right to challenge this but it still has to be fought through the courts.

"I think there is something terribly wrong with our system.

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