Inquest to begin into mysterious death of British Jewish student 'lured away by dangerous cult'

The inquest into the death of a British Jewish student who died more than a decade ago in Germany under mysterious circumstances after he attended an event organised by an extremist "cult-like" group, will begin tomorrow in London.

However, Newsweek has learned that the pathologist at the heart of the case will not be giving evidence, as it seems he cannot be located, amid claims from his mother that the case was not properly investigated by German police.

The body of Jeremiah Duggan, a 22-year-old student who was studying at the Sorbonne and the British Institute in Paris at the time of his death, was found on the side of a German motorway in 2003.

Duggan believed he was attending a conference against the war in Iraq, and travelled to Wiesbaden in Germany after being recruited in Paris by members of an anti-war group. In fact, it was an anti-war conference organised by the far-Right Schiller Institute, which has close links to Lyndon LaRouche, a Right-wing US conspiracy theorist who founded the LaRouche movement. Lyndon LaRouche himself gave a speech at the conference.

During the five days Duggan spent there, he became aware of the group's anti-Semitic views, and decided to speak out.

A former member of LaRouche, Yves Messer, told Newsweek that the LaRouche group is "anti-British to the extreme and sickly paranoid". The group believes the British put Hitler in power, according to Messer, and the group also claims that the British monarchy and MI6 are behind the global drugs trade.

Based on witness statements, the German police concluded Jeremiah's death was "a suicide by means of a traffic accident", but Jeremiah's family has never accepted this verdict.

Hours before his death his mother Erica Duggan received a phone call from her son in which he told her that he was in trouble. He told her he was in Germany and began spelling the letters of the place he was staying, before the line went dead.

In 2003, a post-mortem by a British pathologist concluding that Jeremiah was battered to death with a blunt instrument, rather than committing suicide.

Mrs Duggan believes the cult thought her son was a spy who had infiltrated their group and posed a danger to them. In 2010, Mrs Duggan told the British High Court she had been contacted by a member of the LaRouche movement following her son's death, who branded the student a "traitor and a spy". She is hopeful that the coroner will return a verdict of unlawful killing.

"Larouche tried to recruit him, and he was completely new to it," says Mrs Duggan. "He was also Jewish and British, and when he became critical, and said it was a cult and using mental manipulation, he was in their midst and he became a danger to them, and he was seen as a spy, and then we don't know what happened to him."

However, Newsweek has discovered that the pathologist at the heart of the case, Dr David Shove, who first provided the vital evidence in 2003 that Jeremiah had been beaten to death, will not be attending this week's inquest.

The coroner's officer, Dave Howard, confirmed to Newsweek that Dr Shove will not be attending the inquest, although he declined to give an explanation for his absence. Witnesses who live in England or Wales must attend an inquest if they are asked to. He also said that representatives of LaRouche would not be attending, nor would any German police officers or witnesses to Jeremiah's death, as the coroner does not have authority to summon witnesses from abroad.

It is unclear as to why Dr Shove is unable to attend. Mrs Duggan has said: "I am very disappointed that he cannot be traced as the post mortem is the most important piece of evidence."

She told Newsweek: "We've got a young British Jewish man who went to Germany, who went because he was lured away by a highly Anti-Semitic dangerous political cult, and he met his death, and it wasn't properly investigated." She described the inquest as a "day of reckoning".

"[My son's case] is a product of the fact that the German state has given immunity to a dangerous extremist cult and doesn't monitor it," she continues.

In December 2012 the German Federal Constitutional Court gave a verdict that the Wiesbaden authorities had made a mistake in not investigating the death and by failing to do that, they had closed off the possibility of investigating whether a crime had taken place.

Serdar Kaya, Mrs Duggan's German lawyer, believes the German authorities failed to properly investigate the case, and describes their haste in reporting the incident as a suicide as "suspicious".

"After just three months, the prosecutor and police closed the case, and the pages of the file numbered just 73 - there was practically no information inside, and no formal witness statements," he says. "That's why Erica decided to fight. The police assumed it was suicide, so there was no investigation, which was terribly wrong," he says.

Following the three-day inquest, on Friday a conference will be held with the support of the Race Relations Institute to explore the issues surrounding Jeremiah's death; namely how to protect young people from the double-speak and manipulation of political cults.

"We talk about just one victim - Jeremiah - but there are millions of silent victims involved in cults. Really anyone could be recruited to a cult," Yves Messer, one of the speakers told Newsweek.

A spokesman for the Schiller Institute called the allegations made by Messer and Mrs Duggan "utterly preposterous" and pointed to the German court decision. Bruce Director, the Institute's secretary-treasurer said: "At no time has Ms Duggan ever presented any evidence or facts that refute the findings of the German authorities concerning the suicide of her son. Instead, over the last 12 years she and her representatives and collaborators have propounded wild conspiracies theories promulgated by the political enemies of Mr LaRouche in and around the British Monarchy and the circles of the now discredited former prime minister Tony Blair."

The German police did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment.