Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 14:03 UK

New inquest into Jeremiah Duggan's death in Germany

Jeremiah Duggan's body on the motorway
Mr Duggan's body was found near Wiesbaden in 2003

The High Court has ordered a new inquest into the death of a 22-year-old student from north London whose body was found on a motorway in Germany.

Jeremiah Duggan, from Golders Green, was found near Wiesbaden in March 2003.

A German inquest found he killed himself but this ruling was later disputed by a British coroner.

Lord Justice Elias said the inquest must investigate possible "foul play" after new evidence hinted the crash was faked and he might have been killed.

'I'm frightened'

Two High Court judges quashed the findings of the first inquest, held in November 2003, which said that Mr Duggan died of fatal head injuries after running into the B455 motorway near Wiesbaden.

They added that the new inquest must examine whether his death was the result of foul play after hearing that Mr Duggan, who was Jewish, had attended an event organised by the far-right LaRouche group.

Mr Duggan, a student at the British Institute and the Sorbonne in Paris, thought he was attending a conference on Iraq, the court heard.

Duggan family welcome new inquest

German police said Jeremiah's death was a "suicide by means of a traffic accident" after running into the path of two oncoming cars. The 2003 inquest recorded a verdict of suicide.

In November 2003, an inquest conducted by the Hornsey coroner Dr William Dolman recorded a narrative verdict saying that the prospect of a suicide was "impossible" as he was in a "state of terror".

The Jewish student had called his mother Erica Duggan shortly before his death and said: "Mum, I'm in big trouble," and, "I'm frightened", the inquest had heard.

Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Mr Justice Aikenhead, said fresh evidence suggested that the death may have occurred elsewhere and the accident "stage managed" to look like a road accident.

It was alleged, said the judge, that one member of the LaRouche group had told his mother: "We have hunted him down... it is right that he is dead, he is a traitor and a spy."

In legal papers, submitted to the High Court, it is claimed that "there may have been a deliberate attempt to hunt down and kill Jeremiah Duggan".

Evidence from five scientific experts suggested the injuries on the student's body and damage to the cars at the scene were inconsistent with a traffic accident.

Jeremiah Duggan's family and friends outside the court
His family and friends had campaigned for a new inquest

Lord Justice Elias said: "It is sufficient that fresh evidence here could alter the verdict.

"It puts in issue whether or not there may have been foul play.

"It is necessary that this fresh inquest is held if for no other reason than to seek to allay the suspicions naturally raised by the evidence which has now been produced to the court."

Following the ruling, Mrs Duggan said: "The judge gave a brilliant judgment. No country has investigated my son's death properly as yet.

"The German state has failed us. The British state has an obligation to establish how Jeremiah died."

She hoped that the German authorities will reopen the case following this ruling.



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