An apparent suicide-by-road-accident of a north London student in Germany is likely to have been a “constructed set-up”, an inquest has heard.
Jeremiah Duggan, 22, was found dead on a motorway near Wiesbaden on March 27 2003 after he attended a youth event organised by the LaRouche “far-right cult”.
German police said his death was “a suicide by means of a traffic accident”, but in May 2010 the High Court ordered a fresh UK inquest after judges said evidence of possible foul play must be investigated.
As the new inquest opened at Barnet Coroner’s Court in north London, forensic photographic expert Paul Canning said that after examining pictures from the scene, “the only possible conclusion is that it must have been a set-up”.
Mr Canning, who has over a decade of experience working with the Metropolitan Police, said there was no evidence of contact between Mr Duggan and two vehicles – a Peugeot 406 and a Volkswagen Golf – which the German investigation found had been involved in his death.
He said: “After making a lengthy examination of the photographs I conclude that, based on my experience of attending hundreds of fatal and very serious road traffic accidents, that in examining the scene of the accident, the road, Jeremiah’s body and both vehicles involved, I could find no traces of blood, hair, tissue or clothing on the vehicles or road, except round the immediate vicinity of Jeremiah’s body.”
He added that both vehicles and Mr Duggan appeared to have traces of a wet sandy substance which was not present at the scene and therefore placed them elsewhere before the alleged accident.
He said the damage to the Peugeot, which is claimed to have hit Mr Duggan, appeared to have been caused by a “heavy metallic instrument” or possibly another car rather than a person.
He described damage on the Volkswagen, which is said to have run Mr Duggan over after he jumped out and hit the Peugeot, as “inconsistent”.
Coroner for north London Andrew Walker asked: “Are you saying the damage to the vehicles is unlikely to have been caused by an impact with a person?”
“Yes sir, in my opinion,” Mr Canning repled.
“Is it likely that damage to the vehicle has been placed there?”
“After looking at the photographs the only possible conclusion I could find was that it was placed there and further, that it looks like pre-existing damage that was undertaken prior to this incident.”
“Are you saying this was a constructed road traffic collision?”
“It certainly looks that way, sir.”
Previously the inquest heard written statements by German witnesses who said they saw Mr Duggan try to jump out in front of several cars on the morning of his death.
The original British inquest into Mr Duggan‘s death in 2003 rejected a verdict of suicide after hearing about the LaRouche movement and its German think-tank, the Schiller Institute.
Lyndon LaRouche, the movement’s leader, has been condemned by Jewish organisations as an anti-semite.
Jewish Mr Duggan, a student at the prestigious Sorbonne University of Paris who was originally from Golders Green in north London, is said not to have been aware of the nature of the group before attending the event.
On the morning he died he called both his girlfriend and mother and allegedly sounded “agitated”.
He told his mother, Erica Duggan, 45 minutes before he was killed: “Mum, I am in deep trouble.”
The family, who were present at the inquest on Tuesday, have been fighting for 12 years for the case to be reopened.
They won a victory in December 2012 when the German Higher Court ruled that the Wiesbaden authorities’ original investigation had been flawed and opened a new inquiry, which is still ongoing.