Call for new inquest on Jewish student linked to far-right 'cult'

The Times, UK/March 28, 2007
By Helen Nugent

A British student who attended a right-wing anti-Iraq war conference in Germany was murdered after delegates found out that he was Jewish, his family claim.

Jeremiah Duggan, 22, died from catastrophic head injuries after apparently running into the path of two cars on a motor-way in Wiesbaden in March 2003. But new evidence suggests that the car crash was a set-up, his family say, and that he was battered to death first with a blunt instrument, or possibly a fist or boot.

Campaigners including the Labour peer Lord Janner of Braunstone called on the Attorney-General yesterday to order a new inquest into the death of Mr Duggan, a student at the Sorbonne in Paris who was from Golders Green, northwest London.

According to German police, he threw himself in front of the speeding vehicles because he had "psychological problems". But his family do not accept that he committed suicide.

Before his death, Mr Duggan had become involved in an extremist political movement, and on the night that he died he rang his mother at home in London to say that he was in "deep trouble" and "wanted out".

He missed his father's 60th birthday to travel to a conference in Germany to hear more about antiwar solutions put forward by the Schilling Institute, an extreme right-wing political group. The student was passionately opposed to the war in Iraq and became interested in the group because of its strong antiwar stance.

At the British inquest, which dismissed the German investigation's finding that he had killed himself, the Duggan family called the institute a "dangerous and political cult with strong anti-Semitic tendencies, known to have a history of intimidation and terror tactics".

The family said that it had emerged at the rally that their son was a British Jew.

Although an initial examination of the scene did point to a road traffic accident, a closer analysis found no traces of skin, hair, blood or clothing on either vehicle, and there was no blood or clothing left on the road, Frances Swaine, their solicitor, said.

Experts had also detected "defence wounds" to his hands and forearms, and wounds to his head excluded any possibility that the injuries were caused when his body was hit or dragged along the road.

Ms Swaine said that a pathology report showed a great deal of fresh blood in Mr Duggan's lungs, suggesting that he had been injured some time before he died.

"In all my years of work I have never seen one case where the grounds for a full and frank inquiry into a suspicious death were so compelling," she said.

The family and their legal team gathered yesterday at Portcullis House in London to disclose the evidence.

Erica Duggan, his mother, said: "Today it is four years since the terrible phone call that I got at 4.24 in the morning. There was no doubt in my mind that my son was asking me to help him, to rescue him.

"It has been very hard that, as a mother, I should be left to investigate the death of my own son. Now that we have obtained evidence from independent forensic pathologists, I am hoping that the German and the British authorities will conduct a full inquiry."

She was joined by Rudi Vis, the Finchley and Golders Green Labour MP, and Lord Janner, in calling on the Attor-ney-General to order a new inquest. Dr Vis said that there was enough evidence to indicate that Mr Duggan was thrown into the road after he was killed.

A spokesman for Lord Goldsmith, QC, the Attorney-General, said that his office had not been contacted by campaigners calling for a new inquiry into the death. However, he added: "We will carefully consider the case once we have been contacted and decide if there is a case to ask the High Court to open a fresh inquest."

The Attorney-General can only make a request to the High Court to open a fresh inquest. He has no power to open one himself or to quash the original inquest finding.

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