A CAMPAIGNING mother is hoping to take Germany to the European Court of Human Rights over the mysterious death of her Harrow schoolboy son in what is a potential legal first.
Erica Duggan has been fighting for justice ever since the body of 22-year-old Jeremiah, who attended Quainton Hall School in Hindes Road, Harrow, was found at the roadside near Wiesbaden in southwestern Germany in 2003.
The local authorities ruled the Jewish student had committed suicide but the family believe he was unwittingly lured to a conference organised by a right-wing political cult that turned sinister, and point to an unexplained early morning telephone call a distressed and frightened Jeremiah made to his mother hours before the incident.
Mrs Duggan returned to Germany on Tuesday (Mar 22) to lay flowers besides the motorway and to meet her lawyers.
She said: “We're taking Germany to the European Court of Human Rights, accusing them of breaching Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, the right to investigate suspicious deaths.
“Nobody like me has ever taken Germany to the court before over this because usually they're very good at investigating - but not in this case.
“This is the last thing we can do because we have tried everything else.
“The case file is still live and open with a suspect's name in it but the prosecutor refuses to see me or my lawyers.”
Mrs Duggan, of Golders Green, north London, is resorting to the ECHR because, following a unsuccessful appeal to Germany's highest court for the inquiry to be re-opened, she has exhausted the domestic legal process there.
“We have submitted altogether three files to the ECHR. I have put various new evidence forward but the length of time before a decision is made is unknown.
“It could take anything from five to 20 years so it's a very serious situation to be in.”
The Duggans have already been through a drawn out legal battle in Britain to win a second inquest, which opened last year and prompted a Metropolitan Police probe that it was hoped would bring enlightenment to the whole tragic episode.
But Jeremiah's mother views the apparent lack of any meaningful progress as an ominous sign.
“It looks as though the British police are not getting on with answering the questions of: what was the cause of death and the circumstances of the death?
“I'm heartbroken because I thought my own country would support my human right to have a full investigation yet I've received no help. That's been the hardest part of all.”
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 fresh inquest
* After delay, Attorney General refuses family's request
* Family appeal decision at High Court and win, forcing Attorney General to reconsider case
* New Attorney General signs order allowing Duggans to apply to High Court for fresh inquest
* Family win quashing order from court
* New inquest opens – coroner asks Met Police to investigate death
* Case lodged with European Court of Human Rights over perceived shortcomings of German police investigation