The family of a British student who died in mysterious circumstances after becoming involved with a cult claim they have ‘overwhelming’ new evidence that he was murdered.
A coroner in Germany ruled in 2003 that Jeremiah Duggan, 22, had committed suicide by running onto a dual carriageway, where he was hit by two fast-moving cars.
But his parents say two reports from forensic experts who have reviewed the evidence suggest Jeremiah was battered to death as he tried desperately to defend himself, and that his body was later dumped in the road.
The Duggan family will now present the reports to the Attorney General in an attempt to force a new inquest.
On the fourth anniversary of Jeremiah’s death, his mother Erica said: “The evidence is overwhelming. Now we must have some action to get justice for Jeremiah.”
A series of disturbing questions have surrounded the tragedy from the day Jeremiah died – when he phoned his mother to say he was ‘in deep trouble’.
The French language student, who was living in Paris, had gone to Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt, in March 2003 for what he thought was an anti-Iraq war conference.
But when he got there he discovered it was being run by followers of American millionaire Lyndon LaRouche, who is infamous for his anti-Semitic views and claims the world’s governments have been taken over by a Zionist conspiracy. During the rally Jeremiah had revealed that he was Jewish.
In November 2003 a British coroner rejected his German counterpart’s verdict of suicide, saying Jeremiah had been in a ‘state of terror’ when he died and questioning the role of the ‘murky and secretive’ LaRouche organisation in his death.
Until now, Jeremiah’s family believed he ran onto the B455 Berliner Strasse outside Wiesbaden as he fled in panic from the conference, possibly pursued by members of the cult.
But neither of the cars which allegedly hit him had any traces of blood, skin or hair on them, and former Metropolitan Police forensic photographer Paul Canning, who studied 79 pictures taken at the roadside, said the damage to the cars was not consistent with them hitting a human body.
He indicated that one of the cars was hit with a hammer or crowbar to make it look as though it had run someone over. A separate pathology report suggested Jeremiah’s injuries were caused by a boot or a fist, with blood in his lungs showing he had been injured for some time before he died.
There were no tyre marks or other injuries consistent with Jeremiah being run over, the report said, and his hands and forearms showed ‘classic defence wounds’ meaning he fought with his attacker.
Duggan family lawyer Frances Swaine said: “In all my years of work I have never seen one case where the grounds for a full and frank inquiry into a suspicious death were so compelling. We are therefore asking the Attorney General to use his power to quash the original inquisition and order a new inquest.”
Dr William Dolman, the coroner at the UK inquest in 2003, took the unusual step of recording a narrative verdict, rather than stating a specific reason for Jeremiah’s death. He said the student had received fatal head injuries when he ran into the road and was hit, but rejected any suggestion that he had intended to take his own life.
Jeremiah, from Golders Green, North London, had been studying French at the British Institute and the Sorbonne in Paris when he bought a newspaper called Nouvelle Solidarite from a LaRouche propagandist who persuaded him to attend the ‘antiwar conference’.
Jeremiah had no idea the rally was organised by LaRouche, a convicted fraudster who claims the Iraq war was whipped up by a cartel of Jewish bankers who have control over the U.S. government.
Former members of the LaRouche organisation have described the ‘pure psychological terror’ inflicted on new recruits, in which they are encouraged to reject their families and indoctrinated with LaRouche’s bizarre conspiracy theories. In the early hours of the day he died, Jeremiah phoned his French girlfriend Maya to say he felt ‘under too much pressure’.
He told her: “They do experiments on human beings, with computers and magnetic waves.” He thought perhaps ‘they’ had done this to him and said he feared there was ‘an implant in his body’ and he had discovered some ‘very grave things’.
He added that he ‘no longer knew what reality was, what was truth and what was lies’.
His worried girlfriend told him to catch the first train back to Paris that morning. He said he would and told her he loved her.
Shortly afterwards, at 4.24am UK time, he phoned his mother and told her: “Mum, I’m in deep trouble. You know this Nouvelle Solidarite? I’m not strong enough for this, I don’t want to go on.”
Mrs Duggan wondered if he was being asked to take part in a violent anti-war protest. When she asked him where he was, he said Wiesbaden, then started to spell it out, but he only got as far as the ‘S’ before the phone cut out.
Less than an hour later he was dead. Four drivers told police Jeremiah had run into the road in front of them. Two swerved to avoid him, with one later saying he had never seen anyone with a look of such ‘deep distress’ on their face as Jeremiah when he glimpsed him in his headlights.
The drivers of a Peugeot and a VW Golf told police they had hit Jeremiah as he ran out from a verge, with the Golf driver, Ingrid Lemke, saying she had run over him.
She later recalled ‘seeing his body flying through the air’.
Asked yesterday about the evidence of the car drivers, solicitor Miss Swaine said: “You will have to draw your own conclusions about it. The whole thing is very mysterious.”
Hartmut Ferse, spokesman for the Wiesbaden prosecutor’s office, said there was no need for a fresh investigation. “This was a cut and dried suicide,” he said. “It is not our job to explore the motives for why someone should take their own life.”