'I just want to know how my son died'

As MPs call for an investigation into the death of Jeremiah Duggan, his mother opens her heart to TJ.

Totally Jewish News, UK/May 17, 2007
By Erica Duggan

We’ve all experienced the stomach churning feeling when, in the middle of the night, we are roused from our sleep by the sound of a phone. We know the odds are it’s a wrong number, but there is also the unavoidable feeling that something terrible must have happened.

Four years ago, on 27 March 2003, at 4.20am in the morning, I answered just such a phonecall from my son. Jeremiah’s hushed voice was of course incredibly familiar and yet unbelievably strange. I have never heard such terror. “Mum, I’m in deep trouble.”

He started spelling a word - it later transpired to be “Wiesbaden”, the place where I now suspect he was murdered – but before he reached “b” the line went dead. That was the last time I spoke to him.

His girlfriend also received a similar panicked call that night. His body was discovered a few hours later at the side of a dual carriageway, five and a half kilometres outside the town of Wiesbaden in Germany. He was also five minutes away from the headquarters of the sinister and anti-semitic LaRouche organisation.

After receiving my son’s call I immediately contacted the British police but there was little they or I could actually do at the time.

In under a week, the German police concluded Jeremiah had died after being hit by a series of cars, perhaps the obvious conclusion given his body’s location. They took no formal witness statements, destroyed Jeremiah’s clothes and shoes, and did not carry out a post-mortem or a medical examination of his injuries.

Without taking any of these steps, the German coroner returned a verdict of suicide. But to those of us who knew Jeremiah - and especially to his girlfriend and myself, who had heard his terrified voice that fateful night – it made no sense.

Why would the happy, normal person we knew have committed suicide? And why, even if he did, in this bizarre fashion, which according to the police account, would have involved a run of several kilometres along the autobahn before throwing himself in front of several cars?

And even if that is what had happened, what drove him to this point?

I know a mother’s view of her son is not entirely objective but none of Jeremiah’s many friends, who have been so supportive since his death, recognised the person described by the German police reports.

The German authorities opened and closed the case with incredible speed. When, six months later a British coroner, Dr William Dolman, dismissed the suicide verdict saying Jermiah died “in a state of terror”, I assumed that there would be a new investigation, but nothing happened.

I went to the Foreign Office. Lady Symons, then the Minister, was incredibly sympathetic. I thought, now surely there will be a new investigation. But again, the weeks turned into months, and there was no movement on either side of the channel.

So I started asking questions myself.

I found that, when studying at the British Institute in Paris, Jeremiah had been recruited to attend what he thought was an anti-war conference in Germany. The conference, in Wiesbaden was organised by the LaRouche Schiller Institute, which is directly tied to the LaRouche Organisation.

I discovered that the LaRouche Organisation was a virulently anti-semitic and anti-British political cult with a history of targeting young people using brainwashing and intimidation techniques. Lyndon LaRouche, its leader, is a convicted criminal, who served five years of a 15-year prison sentence in the US.

I was told that Jeremiah – not knowing any of this – had spoken out at the Conference, as I would have expected him to, when LaRouche’s representatives told delegates the Iraq war was all the fault of the Jews.

And I was told that, on the morning of his death, Jeremiah was described by Helga Zepp LaRouche – LaRouche’s wife - as ‘representative of the enemy’, sent over from Britain to harm the organisation.

Armed with this information, at my own expense, I recruited independent experts to re-examine the evidence of his death.

In the past few weeks, a forensic pathologist with an international reputation has studied the British post-mortem and the 75 photographs of the scene and has concluded that it is impossible that Jerry was hit by any cars.

A forensic photographer states that not only does the German reconstruction expert write that there are no deposits on the cars of blood or cloth but his own studies also confirm there is no evidence on the cars that there was contact with a body.

More disturbingly still, a further investigation of Jeremiah’s body suggests that he died after a severe beating or kicks to the head inflicted injuries.

Jeremiah’s passport was found to be in the hands of the LaRouche organisation, which handed it to the German police. Recent tests show it was splattered with Jerry’s blood.

When a parent loses their child it is always a tragedy, but taken together, surely, this evidence suggests more than the overactive imagination of a grieving mother?

The case in Germany now sits with the Constitutional Court, which could take up to a further four years to determine whether it should be reopened.

So last week, my UK lawyers - solicitor Frances Swaine, Leigh Day and Co, Keir Starmer QC and barrister Anthony Metzer – made a submission to the Attorney General under section 13 of the Coroners Act for him to make arrangements for a new inquest, with a new police investigation here.

All I ask is to know what really happened to my son on that night in Germany in March 2003, to be confident that the case has truly been investigated and that all the evidence has been properly reviewed.

I make no accusations. I don’t know what happened to Jeremiah: I just know there are lots of outstanding questions which no-one has yet answered satisfactorily.

If you agree, please raise Jeremiah’s case with your MP and ask them to sign the Early Day Motion that calls for the Attorney General to grant a new inquest.

If not for Jeremiah, so no other parent need again go through what I have over the past four years.

• For further information, to make a donation or to find out how you can help please visit www.justiceforjeremiah.com

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