Jeremiah Duggan did not commit suicide, coroner rules


Jewish student Jeremiah Duggan did not commit suicide, a coroner has ruled.

Andrew Walker "totally rejected" a ruling by a German court that Mr Duggan had killed himself by running out in front of traffic on a motorway in Wiesbaden, Germany in 2003.

The coroner also ruled that the fact that Mr Duggan had revealed himself to be Jewish while attending a conference of the extreme Larouche organisation may have had a bearing on how he died, causing him to be distressed and at risk from other members of the organisation.

Recording a narrative verdict at the end of a three-day inquest at Barnet Coroner's Court, Mr Walker ruled that at 6am on March 27 2003, Mr Duggan received fatal injuries following a collision with two cars on a dual carriageway some distance from the flat he was staying at.

Earlier that night, Mr Duggan, who had been lodging with a family in Wiesbaden, made an "alarming" phone call to his mother and girlfriend before fleeing the house of his hosts.

In reaching his conclusion, the coroner also rejected the assertions of several expert witnesses instructed by the Duggan family, that the scene of their son's death had been arranged to appear as suicide.

Mr Walker said, "The fact that he attended a conference run by this far-right wing organisation and the method that the organisation used to recruit young persons at that time against the background of the start of the Iraq war, together with Mr Duggan expressing that he was a Jew, British and questioning the material put before him, may have had a bearing on Mr Duggan's death in the sense that it may have put Mr Duggan at risk from members of the organisation and caused Mr Duggan to become distressed and seek to leave.”

The coroner noted a number of unexplained injuries discovered by a pathologist, which "suggest that Mr Duggan may have been involved in an altercation at some stage before his death".

A statement read outside court on behalf of the Duggan family expressed gratitude to the coroner, including his finding that LaRouche was a "far right wing organisation", and the fact that Mr Duggan had revealed himself as Jewish and British may have been significant in his death.

They expressed disappointment at some of Mr Walker’s findings, however, stating that, "In the face of six separate British and European independent experts covering the fields of pathology and forensic analysis, the coroner preferred the disputed evidence relied upon by the German authorities," they said

"The pressure should now be put upon the German authorities to ensure this powerful and dramatic narrative verdict leads to deeper investigation in the country where Jeremiah was killed, including the role played by the LaRouche organisation."

"We hope Jeremiah's legacy will be that the strong message that such extremist organisations exist which target univeristy students for recruitment has been heard so that the dangers they pose can be avoided."

Mr Duggan’s mother, Erica Duggan said: "I hope this will be Jeremiah's legacy, that students are warned against the dangers of these kinds of extremist groups that target them.

She added: "I do want to say that in no way have the German authorities carried out a thorough investigation."

Of the doroner's verdictshe said, "I was emotionally shocked and disappointed that he didn’t take enough notice of the powerful evidence from the experts."

Asked if she'll continue her fight for justice for her son, she said: "I'm not sure I will do it through the justice system. I would like to think very hard where the kind of investigations that have gone on in Britain and Germany have led me to find out how my son died."

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