The apparent suicide of a Golders Green student in Germany was "a set up", an inquest heard.

Jeremiah Duggan, who had been studying at the Sorbonne in Paris, was found dead by the side of a motorway in Wiesbaden, Germany, on March 27, 2003.

He had been attending what he believed was a protest against the Iraq war – but was actually a youth event organised by right wing extremist group LaRouche.

His mother, Erica Duggan, has always insisted her son’s death was not a suicide.

A three-day inquest opened at North London Coroners Court today.

The court heard witness statements from drivers including Peter Steudter, who said he witnessed a “suicide attempt” – something Mr Duggan's family refuses to accept.

Forensic photographic expert Paul Canning, who carried out an investigation after studying photos of the scene ten years ago, told the court he felt Mr Duggan had not been involved in a crash at all.

He said he found no traces of blood, tissue or clothing on the vehicles on the road, except around Jeremiah’s body.

Mr Canning said: “He was set up. My final conclusion was in having found no traces of skin, blood or clothing on either vehicle, I could not see how there was any contact at all.”

Mr Canning believes wet sand on the soles of Jeremiah’s shoes, as well as the tyres of both cars, was further proof the death was not as it seemed.

Mr Canning said: “I was completely taken aback that this substance should be on both vehicles and on his shoes.

“The evidence of sand stood out to me. It was really alarming, very striking.

“The conclusion I drew was this had Jeremiah and the two vehicles in another place prior to the accident.”

Coroner Andrew Walker asked whether he felt a car crash had been “reconstructed” to suggest Mr Duggan had jumped in front of the car.

Mr Canning replied: “Incredible as it is, that seems correct.”

The forensic expert added that a “heavy instrument” could have been used to damage the two cars involved, which included dents and a smashed windscreen.

He added: “The only conclusion I can draw sir is it was a set-up. I can find nothing at all to link Jeremiah to those vehicles. The only thing I can link is the sandy substance. My conclusion remains unchanged.

“I have never ever come across anything like this in real life at all.”

The court also heard from Hugo Duggan, Jeremiah’s father, who spoke of his son’s “mischievous” sense of humour and “voracious appetite for learning”.

Mr Duggan said he was “very close” to his son, and wiped away tears as a 60th birthday card Jeremiah sent him, shortly before he died, was read out.

He also said the first time his son was affected by politics was after 9/11, which made him “fearful” of the state of the world. 

The inquest continues.