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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 08:20 GMT
Investigation into British student death stalled
By Tim Samuels
BBC News

Jerry Duggan
German police have refused to reopen the case

The authorities in Germany are refusing to re-open the case of a British student who died "in a state of terror".

Jeremiah - or Jerry - Duggan died last March after jumping into traffic in Wiesbaden, south of Frankfurt.

The authorities in Germany say that Jerry took his own life, but last November a British coroner dismissed the suicide verdict.

Dr William Dolman stated: "I could not accept the bald conclusion that Jeremiah Duggan intended to take his own life."

He added that Jerry had been: "In a state of terror.

"These are not words usually used by a coroner's court, but no other words reflect Jeremiah's state of mind."

Why Jerry came to die in a state of terror remains a mystery.

Jerry Duggan was a bright, popular student from London.

The 22 year old was studying for two degrees in Paris, at the Sorbonne and British Institute.

Outwardly happy

Fellow students at the British Institute, who saw Jerry days before his death, dismiss the idea of suicide as inconceivable.

"He's someone who I'd always seen as very stable in fact," says Jessie Whiskin.

"Someone who always gave off the outwards signs of being extremely happy in the life that he had here in Paris.

"He had a girlfriend, a massive group of friends both here and in London."

Another student, Ed Payne, adds: "Something went on out there in Germany - and it doesn't really fit.

"All the pieces of the puzzle don't fit together."

Erica Duggan
Erica Duggan has unanswered questions
Jerry Duggan ended up in Germany after being invited to what he thought was an anti-war conference, at a time when passions were running high about Iraq.

But this was no ordinary anti-war conference.

Jerry had unwittingly become involved with a far-Right group.

The conference, near Wiesbaden, was being run by the Schiller Institute, a group inspired by Lyndon LaRouche and run by his wife.

LaRouche is a far-Right American conspiracy theorist with a history of anti-Semitism, who has claimed the Royal Family deal drugs.

After six days with the Schiller Institute, something seemed to change in Jerry.

In the early hours of the morning he called his mother in London saying, "Mum I'm in deep, deep trouble. I want out."

The line went dead. He called back saying, "I want to see you now."

As he started spelling out the name of the town where he was staying, the line cut-off again.

You can't just close the door on that and say it's suicide.
Erica Duggan

Forty-five minutes later Jerry lay dead on a main road on the edge of Wiesbaden.

It is assumed he ran for 45mins, covering about 5km, before jumping into traffic.

"We are 100% certain that it is suicide," says the Wiesbaden Prosecutor, Dr Dieter Arlet.

"As a consequence of his own behaviour and with no-one else involved, he threw himself in front of a car, of several cars, and died on the third attempt."

Despite the British coroner dismissing the notion of a suicide verdict as "totally impossible and incorrect", the authorities in Wiesbaden have not re-opened the case.

The BBC has now spoken to a former member of the Schiller Institute who may be able to shed some light on how the group operated.

Aglaja Beyes-Corleis was a member of the Schiller Institute for 16 years until the early 1990s.

Unanswered questions

"People tend to be drawn into it who did not want to be drawn into it - who did not want to join a cult or sect or something like that."

Conferences then, she says, entailed immense psychological duress.

"I was freaked out and I experienced that other people freaked out. I saw people who got out of their mind."

It is not known what happened to Jerry at the conference.

However, his mother thinks he may have faced particular stress when it emerged that he was Jewish.

Former member Aglaja Beyes-Corleis recalls: "Sometimes, Jewish members were put under special pressure."

The Schiller Institute was not willing to make any comment.

Lyndon LaRouche has dismissed Jerry's death as a "hoax" constructed by supporters of Tony Blair and Dick Cheney.

Jerry's mother, Erica Duggan remains plagued by the unanswered questions.

"To turn a normal young man with his future in front of him into a terrified young man who's running away, 5km or 4km in the middle of the night.

"What causes that?

"You can't just close the door on that and say it's suicide."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Tim Samuels
"For his mother in London suicide is inconceivable"



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