Briton claims German police investigation into son’s death ‘as bad as Lawrence case’
Wednesday 28 May 2014
The mother of a British student whose body was found on a motorway in Germany has accused the country’s police of destroying evidence and claimed it was “as bad as the Stephen Lawrence case”.
Erica Duggan broke down on Wednesday as she told a court of her struggle to understand how her 22-year-old son Jeremiah, who was Jewish, had died after attending a youth event organised by the far-right, “cult like” LaRouche group in 2003.
The German police concluded at the time his death was “a suicide by means of a traffic accident”. However, his family have never accepted that ruling and in May 2010 the High Court ordered a fresh UK inquest after judges said evidence of possible “foul play” must be investigated.
Mrs Duggan criticised a new investigation launched by German authorities in 2012, claiming there was “nothing but institutional racism” in the country, and accusing police there of destroying evidence.
Giving evidence at a pre-inquest review, she told coroner Andrew Walker: “We are back 11 years sitting in that police station waiting for them to investigate. Nothing has changed.”
She told North London Coroner’s Court: “There is nothing but institutional racism in Germany and it’s as bad as the Stephen Lawrence case. All I want is a proper investigation in Germany.”
Mr Duggan, from Golders Green, was apparently in a “state of terror” before he was found dead on the road near Wiesbaden, a coroner said at the first inquest into his death in 2003. A student at the British Institute and the Sorbonne in Paris, he had believed he was going to a conference concerning the problems in Iraq.
Four years ago, two High Court judges ordered a new inquest, saying fresh evidence asserted the death may have occurred elsewhere and the accident “stage managed” to look like a road accident. On that occasion it was alleged a member of LaRouche told his mother: “We have hunted him down... it is right that he is dead, he is a traitor and a spy.”
Jeremy Hyam, the Duggan family’s lawyer, said yesterday that there was an order to reopen a previous investigation in Germany after a court in Hesse “concluded the facts as found by the prosecutor appeared to be impossible in the light of the evidence available”.
A spokesman for the German Embassy in London declined to comment, saying: “This is a matter for the judiciary in Germany which is independent.”
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