Police asked to investigate death of Golders Green student Jeremiah Duggan inquest into the death of Jeremiah Duggan to open next week

25 June 2010

A BRAVE family's quest for the truth was given a huge boost this week when a coroner asked the British Police to open an investigation into the death of their son, whose body was found on a German motorway seven years ago.

Erica and Hugo Duggan, whose 22-year-old son Jeremiah was found dead near the city of Wiesbaden in March 2003, were delighted after coroner Andrew Walker requested a new police probe.

In 2003 German police, who had initially investigated the death, decided the Jewish student had thrown himself into oncoming traffic and dismissed it as suicide.

But his mother, who received a chilling phone call from Jeremiah the night he died to say he was 'frightened' and in 'big trouble' has always questioned that theory and for seven years has battled for further investigation.

At the High Court last month Lord Justice Elias agreed to quash the findings of the first inquest held in 2003 so any possible 'foul play' in Jeremiah's death could be probed.

At North London Coroners' Court in High Barnet on Tuesday, Mr Walker adjourned the second inquest to give specialist murder detectives from Scotland Yard time to investigate and asked for evidence gathered by Mrs Duggan to be handed to police.

He said: "I don't see how any other approach could be taken. There needs to be a proper investigation by the police and then any necessary steps taken after.

He added: "It would of course be helpful if the material held on behalf of the family is delivered to the police."

Jeremiah, a student at the British Institute and the Sorbonne University in Paris had gone to Germany in March 2003, believing he was to attend a conference about the war in Iraq.

The conference was held at the Schiller Institute under the umbrella of the LaRouche organisation led by American radical Lyndon LaRouche.

The family's barrister Neil Sheldon told the coroner that "serious allegations of wrongdoing" could arise from the inquest.

He said: "It is a live possibility that Jeremiah was killed as a result of foul play by either individuals acting on their own or at the behest of an organisation that was running an event at the time."

He said the investigation into Jeremiah's death was a matter for the whole of the Jewish community.

The coroner ruled the LaRouche organisation should be warned about the potential allegations that might arise in an inquest.

He said: "This inquest needs to be fair and it must clearly warn any party that their conduct may be criticised in sufficient time for that party to establish what course of action they want to take."

There were emotional scenes at the end of the hearing when Jeremiah's parents, spoke of their relief at the coroner's decision to involve the British police.

Mrs Duggan said: "We have been waiting for this day for seven years.

"The one thing we wanted was for the British Police to do their own investigation. I know they will treat this quite differently.

"I felt today for the first time the family and the victims were being put in the centre of this process. The coroner was listening to what we wanted and also to findings of the High Court and said this should be investigated."

The inquest was adjourned for 28 days