London Coroner's Careful Verdict Leaves Case for Pursuing Justice
A London coroner has accepted that London student Jeremiah Duggan was killed when he ran into motorway traffic outside Wiesbaden, in Germany, as reported by witnesses; but rejected the German authorities' verdict that Jeremiah committed "suicide".
Although he did not accept a theory that Jeremiah could have been killed elsewhere and his body taken to stage the accident on the autobahn, the coroner at Barnet acknowledged that some of the bruising on the young man's body suggested he had been involved in an "altercation" before he met his death. He also noted the political circumstances which might have had a bearing on Jeremiah's death.
Concerned at the build up to war on Iraq, Jeremiah, 22, had been attending a supposed anti-war conference called by the Schiller Institute, part of an international organisation headed by American cultist Lyndon LaRouche, when he died.
In a narrative verdict, Coroner Andrew Walker said:
“On the 27th March 2003 in the early hours of the morning Jeremiah Joseph Duggan, who had been attending a conference run by a far-right wing organisation, was staying with a friend in Wiesbaden with a family. “Having spoken to his girlfriend and mother in alarming terms Mr Duggan, having asked to leave the house for a cigarette accompanied by the friend, suddenly ran from the house. The friend who was with him did not follow him.
“At about 6am the same Jeremiah Joseph Duggan received fatal injuries following a collision with two cars on the Berlinerstrasse and died in a road traffic collision.
“The fact that he attended a conference run by this far-right wing organisation, and the method that the organisation used to recruit young persons at that time - against the background of the start of the Iraq war, together with Mr Duggan expressing that he was a Jew, British and questioning the material put before him - may have had a bearing on Mr Duggan’s death, in the sense that it may have put Mr Duggan at risk from members of the organisation and caused Mr Duggan to become distressed and seek to leave.
(my emphasis -CP)“There are a number of unexplained injuries that suggest that Mr Duggan may have been involved in an altercation at some stage before his death.”
During the inquest expert witnesses including a former member of the LaRouche organisation testified to the methods used by the cult in attracting and indoctrinating members. The court also heard that after Jeremiah Duggan rejected some of the things said in conference, members were told he must be some kind of spy.
When the verdict was read out, Jeremiah's mother, Erica Duggan, shouted “Justice, we want justice”.
Speaking outside, she welcomed the verdict but said she was disappointed the coroner had rejected expert evidence suggesting Duggan had been killed before his body was moved to the motorway as part of an elaborate setup.
“I was emotionally shocked and disappointed at the fact he did not take enough notice of the very powerful evidence he had from experts,” she said. “I am going to fight on but I am not sure I will do it through the justice system.”
In a statement, the Duggan family said they were grateful that some of the facts had come out in court about why Jeremiah tried to get away from the conference, and expressed the hope that other students would not be taken in by such extremist organisations.