The alleged suicide of a Jewish British student in Germany was a “set-up,” an expert witness told an inquest in London.
A three-day inquest into the 2003 death of Jeremiah Duggan, 22, opened on Tuesday. Britain’s High Court in 2010 ordered the investigation to look at possible foul play in the death of the Sorbonne student.
Duggan, from the Golders Green neighborhood of north London, died after attending an anti-war meeting of the LaRouche Schiller Institute in Wiesbaden. Duggan reportedly was terrorized by followers of the rightist institute after he objected to statements blaming the Iraq War on Jews and identified himself as Jewish. He was also accused of being a spy to harm the organization.
He fled into busy traffic and reportedly was hit several times by oncoming vehicles.
German police called the death “a suicide by means of a traffic accident.”
Forensic photographic expert Paul Canning, who studied photographs from the scene, testified that the two vehicles that German police said had hit Duggan did not show any signs of contact with the victim. He said damage to the cars in the photos was inflicted with a heavy metal object, such as another car.
Canning told the court that “the only possible conclusion is that it must have been a set-up.”
“Are you saying this was a constructed road traffic collision?” asked Coroner for north London Andrew Walker.
“It certainly looks that way, sir,” replied Canning.
At the time, a German police investigation ruled it was “a suicide by means of a traffic accident. Duggan’s family never accepted the police findings.
In 2010 the British High Court ordered a new inquiry to investigate if foul play was involved.
After the fatal incident witnesses gave written statements saying they had seen Duggan jump out in front of several vehicles before being hit by a Peugot 406 and then a Volkswagen Golf, according to the German investigation.
However Canning said there was no evidence that the cars had made contact with the student.
“After making a lengthy examination of the photographs I conclude that, in examining the scene of the accident, the road, Jeremiah’s body and both vehicles involved, I could find no traces of blood, hair, tissue or clothing on the vehicles or road, except round the immediate vicinity of Jeremiah’s body.”
Traces of a wet sandy substance on Duggan and on the vehicles, but not present at the location of the body, placed them all together somewhere else before the alleged accident.
Duggan had traveled to Germany to attend a a youth event by the LaRouche movement that has been accused of harboring far-right, anti-Semitic ideology and embracing a cult-like culture. He was apparently unaware of the nature of the event or the organization behind it before he arrived. The LaRouche movement was founded by US political activist Lyndon LaRouche.
Less than an hour before he died on the road, a distraught Duggan reportedly called his mother, Erica Duggan and told her “I’m in big trouble”.
In December 2012, the German Higher Court ruled the original investigation by Wiesbaden authorities was flawed and began a new, ongoing inquiry.