London

Jeremiah Duggan's mother criticises new German death probe

Jerry Duggan Image copyright Not Specified
Image caption Jeremiah Duggan believed he was attending a protest against the war in Iraq

The mother of a 22-year-old north London student whose body was found on a motorway in Germany has criticised a new investigation launched in Germany.

Jeremiah Duggan, of Golders Green, was found near Wiesbaden in March 2003. German police found he killed himself.

Erica Duggan said a new German probe in 2012 gave the family hope, but "nothing has changed" in 11 years and accused the police of "institutional racism".

At a pre-inquest review she called for "a proper investigation in Germany".

The body of Jeremiah Duggan, who was a student at the British Institute and the Sorbonne in Paris, was said to have been found after he attended a youth event organised by the far-right, "cult like" LaRouche group in March 2003. He believed he was attending a protest against the war in Iraq.

The German police investigation concluded that his death was "a suicide by means of a traffic accident".

'Nothing has changed'

In May 2010 the High Court ordered a fresh inquest in the UK saying evidence of possible "foul play" must be investigated as new evidence suggested the death could have happened elsewhere and the accident may have been "stage managed".

Giving evidence at North London Coroner's Court Mrs Duggan told coroner Andrew Walker: "We thought this is a whole different world. Now the justice system in Germany is going to work.

"What we found out was that they went back to the same police officer. After 11 years they go back to the same policeman who in my mind destroyed evidence.

"We are back 11 years sitting in that police station waiting for them to investigate. Nothing has changed."

She added: "There is nothing but institutional racism in Germany and it's as bad as the Stephen Lawrence case."

Jeremy Hyam, the Duggan family's lawyer, said German authorities were ordered to reopen the investigation after a court in Hesse "concluded that the facts as found by the prosecutor appeared to be impossible in the light of the evidence available".

Mrs Duggan has filed a formal complaint about the new 2012 investigation, the coroner heard.

'State of terror'

The first inquest into the death heard the student was in a "state of terror" before his body was discovered.

In 2010, the High Court heard Mrs Duggan had been contacted by a member of the LaRouche movement following her son's death, who said the student was a "traitor and a spy".

The coroner, Mr Walker, said that a three-day inquest would be held in February 2015.

Mrs Duggan and a group of supporters plan to take a letter addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the country's embassy later.

A spokesman for the German Embassy in London declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the judiciary in Germany.

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