Jun 12, 2007

Police confirm Woolmer not murdered

Jamaica police have confirmed that Bob Woolmer died of natural causes and was not murdered.

As expected, police commissioner Lucius Thomas read out a statement confirming that three independent reviews of the post mortem and pathology reports had all rejected the original findings of Dr Ere Seshaiah, which had led to the launch of a murder investigation.

"The JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) accepts these findings," he said, "and has now closed its investigation into the death of Mr Bob Woolmer."

Foreign pathologists "concur with the view that Mr Woolmer died of natural causes", he said, while in further toxicology tests, "no substance was found to indicate that Bob Woolmer was poisoned."

Mark Shields, the deputy police commissioner who led the case, said: "We have conducted a thorough, professional examination. We had to conduct an investigation. There is no alternative. Our job is to keep an open mind. We said from the very beginning that we would keep an open mind. Ultimately, of course, it will be a decision for the coroner."

The JCF will now submit a report to the coroner to gain an official ruling that his death was of heart failure and not "manual strangulation" as the original autopsy suggested.

Commenting on allegations of match-fixing, Thomas added that "neither the ICC nor the JCF have found any evidence of any impropriety by players, match officials nor management during the investigation of Mr Bob Woolmer's death."

Thomas thanked the Pakistan players for their assistance. "The whole team were treated with respect throughout the investigation and it is to their credit that we were able to fulfil all of our investigations. I would like to thank the other teams for the support they gave."

And he offered his condolences to the family. "My hope is that despite the trauma of the last two and half months, Mrs Woolmer and her sons will be confident that the JCF has done all it can to establish the truth surrounding the death of her husband ... and she may be able to find some closure."

Gill Woolmer released this statement: "My sons and I are relieved to be officially informed that Bob died of natural causes. We realise that this investigation has been problematical given the circumstances and the media spotlight. We hope this matter will now be closed and that our family will be left to grieve in peace."

The fallout from the embarrassing about-turn by police, however, will rumble on. Already, Shields and Reneto Adams, the senior superintendent, have crossed swords.

Adams called for Shields to resign on national TV last week, but Shields fired back demanding that Adams step down for his part in other cases. The pair are old adversaries, stemming from Shields's investigation into a bungled police raid spearheaded by Adams.

From: CricInfo

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