New evidence shows 'suicide' student was beaten to death

The Observer, UK/March 25, 2007
By Mark Townsend and Jamie Doward

New evidence suggests that a 22-year-old Briton who had become involved with a right-wing political cult in Germany was murdered, contradicting the authorities' verdict of suicide. Two new reports from leading forensic pathologists suggest that Jeremiah Duggan, a student at the British Institute in Paris, was battered to death with a blunt instrument as he tried desperately to defend himself.

The findings, to be revealed on Tuesday, cast grave doubt on the official verdict that Duggan hurled himself in front of cars on a dual carriageway in Wiesbaden. Forensic specialists found no trace of tyre marks on his body, or anything to suggest that he had been struck by a vehicle. But they did detect classic 'defence wounds' to Duggan's forearms and hands, which usually suggest someone trying to protect himself.

His head injuries are consistent with being beaten and 'exclude any possibility that the injuries to his head occurred because a motor vehicle ran over the body', according to the two studies. Both reports are unanimous in rejecting the official account that Duggan was struck by two vehicles on the night he died in March 2003. They also found that he had ingested quantities of blood.

The official account by German authorities, based on police reports, says he was hit by a car travelling at 60mph and died instantly. However, the fact Duggan survived long enough to swallow large amounts of blood indicates he took a long time to die, which would not be the case after a high-speed collision.

The expert conclusions are the strongest evidence yet that Duggan was killed rather than committed suicide, and support his family's claims that the true circumstances surrounding his death have been covered up. The findings will be sent this week to the Attorney General as part of a submission of evidence aimed at securing a fresh inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death. Erica, his mother, hopes that a verdict of 'unlawful killing' will apply pressure for a fresh police investigation.

Duggan, from Golders Green, north-west London, had become involved with the Wiesbaden followers of Lyndon LaRouche, an American millionaire with virulent anti-Semitic views. Unaware of the group's leanings, the former Christ's Hospital pupil told followers that he was Jewish. At 4.20am on 27 March, 2003, Duggan rang his mother. His voice was hushed: 'Mum, I am in deep trouble.'

Asked where he was, Duggan began spelling out Wiesbaden. Before he could reach 'b', the line went dead. Hours later, police investigated reports of a body on the B455 outside Wiesbaden. The authorities quickly pronounced Duggan's death as a 'clear case' of suicide. The official version states that Duggan 'ran against' a Peugeot and was subsequently run over by a Golf.

Despite requests by British police, their German counterparts have failed to even reveal records of when they were first alerted that Duggan had been killed in a road traffic accident.

Frances Swain, of lawyers Leigh Day and Co, said: 'It is clear from the new evidence that JD did not die in a road traffic accident. How he did die has yet to be investigated and a fresh inquest is required to get those proper investigations off the ground. This is strong evidence that again questions what has been told to us. A new inquest is essential.'

Fight for justice

21 March 2003 Jeremiah Duggan travels to Wiesbaden for what he believes is an anti-war conference. In fact, it was organised by the far-right Schiller Institute, which is inspired by Lyndon LaRouche, a US right-wing conspiracy theorist, and run by his wife. It has a history of anti-Semitism.

27 March At 4.20am, Duggan, who was Jewish, called his mother, saying: 'I'm in deep, deep trouble, I want out.' Later he was found dead on a dual carriageway.

29 March German authorities claim he took his own life by jumping into traffic.

4 November British coroner Dr William Dolman dismissed suicide verdict, saying Duggan died 'in a state of terror'.

24 February 2004 Duggan family meet Foreign Office after German authorities refuse to reopen the case.

November 2005 Duggan's mother persuades German authorities to hand over photos made by investigators.

22 Feb 2006 Family calls for new inquest.

March 2007 Two forensic reports say Duggan was battered to death.

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