Coroner totally rejects suicide at inquest into the death of Jeremiah Duggan, a 22 year old British student found dead on a German motorway in 2003
Lawyers for the family of student found dead on a German Motorway in 2003 have welcomed the findings of a coroner, that the 22 year old did not commit suicide contradicting the findings of the German police.
Coroner Andrew Walker told Barnet Coroner’s Court that Jeremiah Duggan, "received fatal injuries following a collision with two cars" on a road near Wiesbaden in 2003.
He added that the fact Mr Duggan had declared he was a British Jew to members of the far-right LaRouche organisation" may have had a bearing on his death".
Leigh Day, the lawyers acting for the Duggan family, have now called upon the German authorities to investigate the circumstances surrounding Jeremiah’s death including the Coroner’s finding that he sustained a "number of unexplained injuries" suggesting there might have been an "altercation at some stage before his death".
The coroner's narrative verdict said: "Jeremiah Duggan received fatal injuries following a collision with two cars on the Berliner Strasse and died in a road traffic collision."
"Against the backdrop of the start of the Iraq war, together with Mr Duggan expressing he was a Jew, British and questioning the material put before him may have had a bearing on Mr Duggan's death, in the sense that it may have put Mr Duggan at risk from members of the organisation and caused Mr Duggan to become distressed," the verdict continued.
He added: "I totally reject that this was a suicide."
The verdict follows a 12 year battle by his family to have the original ruling overturned, after the High Court ordering a fresh inquest in May 2010.
Speaking outside Court, Merry Varney from the human rights team at Leigh Day, who represented the Duggan family, said:
"On behalf of Jeremiah’s family, we wish to express our gratitude to the Coroner for his significant findings, namely that:
- Before his death, Jerry was present at a conference run by a far right wing organisation;
- That the fact that he revealed that he was Jewish, British, and questionned the anti-British and anti-Semitic ideology may have been a factor in his death and put him at risk from those in the organisation;
- That he became distressed and sought to leave the conference; and
- That he sustained injuries in a possible altercation prior to his death.
“We are disappointed that in the face of 6 separate British and European independent experts covering the fields of pathology and forensic analysis, the Coroner preferred what disputed evidence relied upon by the German authorities.
“The pressure should now be put upon the German authorities to ensure this powerful and dramatic narrative verdict leads to deeper investigation in the country where Jeremiah was killed, including the role played by the la Rouche organisation.
“We hope the strong message that such extremist organisations exist which target univeristy students for recruitment has been heard so that the dangers they pose will be understood by the authorities.
Jeremiah’s mother, Erica Duggan, said: “I'd like to express my thanks for my legal team, Merry Varney, Anthony Metzer QC, and Aron Rollin, and my family and friends who have supported me throughout.”