Jun 4, 2007

Police prepare for Woolmer climbdown

Although Jamaican police are refusing to officially comment, it is now being widely reported that they are set to make what will be an embarrassing climbdown later this week and admit that Bob Woolmer was not murdered but died of natural causes.

A report in the Jamaica Gleaner has quoted an unnamed senior local police officer as saying Woolmer wasn't murdered. "Certainly, in my view it was not murder," the senior officer told the paper. It also added that Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) investigators are hoping to receive a third pathology report next week, which is expected to concur with the second report conducted by British government pathologist Dr. Nat Carey.

However, the JCF will not make an official comment until after the final toxicology results are in and, more important, the third pathology report has been received.

This adds to the spate of reports over the weekend in England claiming that Scotland Yard's review of the case had led to the same conclusion. Based on the findings of the Home Office pathologist, Scotland Yard is believed to have concluded that Woolmer died from heart failure and chronic ill health. The broken bone in his neck, which was key to suggestions that he had been strangled, is now understood to have been caused by his subsequent heavy fall.

Woolmer's widow, Gill, and their family are understood to have cautiously welcomed the news. Neil Manthorp, a South African cricket journalist and a friend of the family, told The Sunday Telegraph: "There will definitely be a great sense of relief if this is confirmed. I hope for Bob's sake and that of his family that his death was quick and painless."

An editorial in the Jamaica Gleaner yesterday said the u-turn might not be the end of the matter. "The twists and turns in the Bob Woolmer case will, we suspect, continue until all the rumours, speculation and half-blown theories regarding the cause of his death have been finally laid to rest by concrete forensic and other evidence."

It went on to say that pressure was now growing on Dr Ere Seshaiah, the pathologist employed by the Jamaican government, and Mark Shields, the high-profile deputy commissioner of the Jamaican police force. Seshaiah produced the autopsy which suggested that Woolmer had been murdered. Subsequent reports said that toxicology tests were said to have revealed that Woolmer had been poisoned.

Shields travelled to Cape Town last month where it is reported he warned Gill Woolmer that it had become "uncertain" how her husband had died and that there could have been a "misinterpretation" of the post-mortem examination results.

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