New evidence shows 'suicide' student was beaten to death
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Mark Townsend and Jamie Doward
Sunday March 25, 2007
Compelling new evidence suggests that a 22-year-old Briton who had become involved with a right-wing political cult in Germany was murdered, contradicting the authorities' verdict of suicide.
Two new reports from leading forensic pathologists suggest that Jeremiah Duggan, a student at the British Institute in Paris, was battered to death with a blunt instrument as he tried desperately to defend himself.
The findings, to be revealed on Tuesday, cast grave doubt on the official verdict that Duggan hurled himself in front of cars on a dual carriageway in Wiesbaden. Forensic specialists found no trace of tyre marks on his body, or anything to suggest that he had been struck by a vehicle. But they did detect classic 'defence wounds' to Duggan's forearms and hands, which usually suggest someone trying to protect himself.
His head injuries are consistent with being beaten and 'exclude any possibility that the injuries to his head occurred because a motor vehicle ran over the body', according to the two studies.
Both reports are unanimous in rejecting the official account that Duggan was struck by two vehicles on the night he died in March 2003. They also found that he had ingested quantities of blood.
The official account by German authorities, based on police reports, says he was hit by a car travelling at 60mph and died instantly. However, the fact Duggan survived long enough to swallow large amounts of blood indicates he took a long time to die, which would not be the case after a high-speed collision.
The expert conclusions are the strongest evidence yet that Duggan was killed rather than committed suicide, and support his family's claims that the true circumstances surrounding his death have been covered up. The findings will be sent this week to the Attorney General as part of a submission of evidence aimed at securing a fresh inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death. Erica, his mother, hopes that a verdict of 'unlawful killing' will apply pressure for a fresh police investigation.
Duggan, from Golders Green, north-west London, had become involved with the Wiesbaden followers of Lyndon LaRouche, an American millionaire with virulent anti-Semitic views. Unaware of the group's leanings, the former Christ's Hospital pupil told followers that he was Jewish. At 4.20am on 27 March, 2003, Duggan rang his mother. His voice was hushed: 'Mum, I am in deep trouble.'
Asked where he was, Duggan began spelling out Wiesbaden. Before he could reach 'b', the line went dead. Hours later, police investigated reports of a body on the B455 outside Wiesbaden. The authorities quickly pronounced Duggan's death as a 'clear case' of suicide. The official version states that Duggan 'ran against' a Peugeot and was subsequently run over by a Golf.
Despite requests by British police, their German counterparts have failed to even reveal records of when they were first alerted that Duggan had been killed in a road traffic accident.
Frances Swain, of lawyers Leigh Day and Co, said: 'It is clear from the new evidence that JD did not die in a road traffic accident. How he did die has yet to be investigated and a fresh inquest is required to get those proper investigations off the ground. This is strong evidence that again questions what has been told to us. A new inquest is essential.'
Fight for justice
21 March 2003 Jeremiah Duggan travels to Wiesbaden for what he believes is an anti-war conference. In fact, it was organised by the far-right Schiller Institute, which is inspired by Lyndon LaRouche, a US right-wing conspiracy theorist, and run by his wife. It has a history of anti-Semitism.
27 March At 4.20am, Duggan, who was Jewish, called his mother, saying: 'I'm in deep, deep trouble, I want out.' Later he was found dead on a dual carriageway.
29 March German authorities claim he took his own life by jumping into traffic.
4 November British coroner Dr William Dolman dismissed suicide verdict, saying Duggan died 'in a state of terror'.
24 February 2004 Duggan family meet Foreign Office after German authorities refuse to reopen the case.
November 2005 Duggan's mother persuades German authorities to hand over photos made by investigators.
22 Feb 2006 Family calls for new inquest.
March 2007 Two forensic reports say Duggan was battered to death.
UK Parliament discusses death of Jewish student in Germany
The case of a British Jewish student believed to have been murdered in Germany by a neo-Nazi gang will be discussed at a special meeting in Parliament on Tuesday, following the unearthing of new evidence that contradicts German authorities' suggestion of suicide.
In March 2003 Jeremiah Duggan, a student at the British Institute in Paris, went to Wiesbaden in Germany to join what he thought was a peace conference. It was actually a meeting organized by the far-right Schiller Institute, and Duggan found himself involved with followers of Lyndon LaRouche, an American millionaire and convicted fraudster with virulent anti-Semitic views.
Unaware of the group's leanings, Duggan told the group that he was Jewish. In the early hours of March 27, 2003, Duggan rang his mother in London and told her he was in "deep trouble." When asked where he was, Duggan began spelling out "Wiesbaden," but before he could reach the letter "b," the phone line went dead.
Hours later, police found his body on a highway five kilometers outside of Wiesbaden. The police concluded that Duggan had committed suicide by running into oncoming traffic and calls for an investigation were subsequently dismissed.
Following a tireless campaign by Erica Duggan, Jeremiah's mother, new evidence has emerged that dismisses Duggan's death as a "clear case of suicide," as German police were quick to pronounce, and suggests foul play. For four years Erica has tried, to no avail, to get the German authorities to set up an investigation.
On Tuesday, a special panel will meet at the British Parliament to discuss the case and release compelling new evidence. The meeting will attempt to publicly examine issues and dilemmas that surround the case - anti-Semitism, suspicious deaths abroad and help for victims and will also look into the protocols and provisions that exist to help families who find themselves in similar circumstances.
Aside from Duggan's mother, Tuesday's panel will include Lord Janner, members of Parliament Dr. Rudi Vis and Louise Ellman, Frances Swaine, partner at London law firm Leigh Day and Co., and the German legal team, comprised of Nicolas Becker and Hans Schultz. There will also be representation from European Parliament member Baroness Ludford and Dr. Shimon Samuels from the Wiesenthal Center.
The new evidence, in part from an independent forensic photographer, suggests, among other things, that Duggan was beaten to death with a blunt instrument as he desperately tried to defend himself.
Following Duggan's death, German police took no witness statements and did not complete a postmortem examination. They even failed to reveal records to British police of when they were first alerted to Duggan's death in a traffic accident.
A traffic reconstruction expert at the time stated that the cars had been moved prior to his arrival and no examination of damage to the cars was done forensically.
London law firm Leigh Day and Co., who represent the Duggan family, have uncovered evidence through two forensic specialists that rejects the official verdict that Duggan was hit by two vehicles. No trace of tire marks was found on Duggan's body and there was no evidence to suggest that he had been struck by a vehicle. Instead, both specialists found head injuries consistent with being beaten and wounds on Duggan's forearms and hands that suggest he was trying to protect himself. They also found that he had ingested large quantities of blood, which shows he survived long enough to swallow such large amounts, thereby contradicting German police reports that he died instantly.
"I do not believe that the damage to either vehicle was caused by the impact of Jerry's body," said Paul Canning, an experienced Metropolitan Police forensic photographer, in his report. "There are no traces of skin, hair, blood or clothing on either vehicle, nor is there any blood, tissue or clothing debris on the road, except for blood in the immediate vicinity of the body, nor are there any tire marks or signs on either Jerry or on the cars to indicate that either vehicle came into contact with the body."
"The new findings are the strongest evidence yet suggesting that Duggan might have been murdered and supporting the premise that the true circumstances surrounding his death have been covered up.
The findings of the report will be sent to the attorney-general later this week as part of a submission of evidence aimed at securing a new inquest into the circumstances surrounding Duggan's death.
His mother said she hopes that a verdict of "unlawful killing" would apply pressure for a fresh police investigation.
I have never photographed a vehicle that has hit a person at speed and caused their death without there being some obvious signs that both body and vehicle have made contact - for example, blood, tissue, hair or clothing traces," he continued. "Furthermore, I have never seen or photographed a pointed, sharp dent, such as the one on the Peugeot front right-hand door, that has been caused by an impact with a person. In my opinion, this dent is more likely to have been caused by contact from a heavy instrument, or even another vehicle."