Student Jeremiah Duggan's death not suicide, coroner rules

BBC News/May 21, 2015

A British student found dead on a German motorway did not kill himself, a coroner has ruled.

Jeremiah Duggan's revelation to members of a far-right organisation he was a British Jew "may have had a bearing on his death", coroner Andrew Walker said.

Following his death in 2003, German police had said Mr Duggan, 22, of north London, took his own life, prior to the start of a fresh inquest this week.

But, this was "totally rejected" by Mr Walker at Barnet Coroner's Court.

Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Walker accepted Mr Duggan "received fatal injuries [in] a collision with two cars" on a road near Wiesbaden.
Twelve-year battle

But, he said there were also a "number of unexplained injuries" suggesting there might have been an "altercation at some stage before his death".

Theories Mr Duggan's death had been staged however, were dismissed by Mr Walker, who confirmed driver testimony the student tried to run in front of traffic on the night he died.

It had been suggested on the first day of the inquest the crash had been a "constructed set-up".

In the days leading up to his death, Mr Duggan had attended a conference run by a right-wing organisation called LaRouche.

Mr Walker's verdict acknowledged that revealing he was a British Jew at the conference might have put him at risk, leaving him feeling distressed.

"[But] I totally reject that this was a suicide," he said.

A second inquest was ordered in 2010 after High Court judges said possible foul play must be investigated.
'New, deeper investigation'

The latest verdict follows a 12-year battle by his family to have the original suicide ruling overturned.

After the hearing Mr Duggan's mother Erica, vowed to fight on.

"I'm not sure I will do it through the justice system because I would like to think very hard about whether or not the kind of investigations that have gone on in Germany and also in Britain have led me to find out how my son really died," she said.

Mr Duggan's family said they were disappointed the coroner preferred the disputed evidence relied upon by the German authorities but thanked the coroner for his verdict.

They called for the German authorities to open a new, deeper investigation, including examining the role played by the LaRouche organisation.

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