Jun 22 2010 By Ian Proctor
MURDER detectives from Britain will be at last investigating the death in Germany of a Jewish ex-Harrow schoolboy through what his family believe was "foul play".
The parents and friends of Jeremiah Duggan have campaigned for seven years for this kind of full probe into what happened to the 22-year-old before his body was found on a motorway near the city of Wiesbaden in March 2003.
The former Quainton Hall School pupil had travelled there from Paris, where he was studying, to attend what he thought was an anti-war conference.
His mother Erica and father Hugo, with whom Jeremiah lived in Harrow during his schooldays, have never accepted the German authorities' conclusion that he committed suicide nor the original British inquest's narrative verdict.
It was not until January this year that the attorney general gave the Duggans permission to launch a High Court claim for a fresh inquest and the family did just that, winning a quashing order in May.
The new inquest of Jeremiah Duggan was reopened at North London Coroner's Court in Barnet today (June 22) by the coroner, Andrew Walker.
Neil Sheldon, the family's barrister, told him: "Underlying this inquest are very serious potential allegations of wrongdoing – that Jeremiah was killed as result of foul play by individuals acting on their own or under the behest of the organisation that is running the event.
"There is the question of whether Jeremiah was also subject to a sustained psychological attack prior to his death and whether that caused him to act completely out of character or be careless of his surroundings."
Supporters of the Justice for Jeremiah Campaign believe the student was somehow pursued by recruiters for LaRouche, a sister organisation of the Wiesbaden conference organisers that Mr Sheldon described in court as an "political cult run by a convicted fraudster which has anti-Semitism and fascism in its ideology".
Mr Walker told the court that because of the allegations, LaRouche has to be recognised as an 'interested party' and so he would have to write to the organisation to invite it to send someone to attend the inquest, and that the family's evidence would have to be properly disclosed to them.
In reply, Mr Sheldon said there were "one or two documents at most" which the Duggans would argue could not be handed over to protect the identity of their source.
Bringing the proceedings to a close, Mr Walker said: "Is the first step not a police investigation? My course of action will be to see that the material you provide to me should be disclosed to the police with a view to them conducting an investigation."
The Metropolitan Police's serious crime directorate will be handed the file in a fortnight and a second pre-inquest review will be held in a month to update everyone.
Mrs Duggan said afterwards: "What the police have to do is the same sort of criminal investigation as they would in Britain, asking the German police to assist them in getting answers to the questions.
"I don't believe this can be done simply by writing letters."
JEREMIAH DUGGAN – A TIMELINE
* Dies in Wiesbaden, Germany, in mysterious circumstances
* German authorities determine it was suicide
* British coroner records narrative verdict, dismissing the suicide theory
* Foreign Office says it is powerless to force Germans to re-open inquiry
* Duggans petition Attorney General to allow family to seek new inquest
* After delay, Attorney General refuses family's request
* Family appeal decision at High Court and win, forcing Attorney General to reconsider case
* Attorney General apologies for delays and signs order allowing Duggans to apply to High Court for fresh inquest
* Parents win second inquest
* New inquest opens and coroners asks for British police probe into death