Sun, Jun 03, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Woolmer was not murdered, British newspaper says

AFP , LONDON

The late Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer stands beside the pitch waiting for play to start on the fourth day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and India in Lahore on Jan. 16 last year.

PHOTO: AFP

Jamaican police are set to announce that Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer was not murdered, but died of natural causes, a British newspaper said yesterday, citing a source close to the inquiry.

The Daily Mail said Jamaican detectives would announce at a press conference next week that they are no longer treating the death as murder and instead believe he died of heart failure brought on by chronic ill health and possibly diabetes.

Woolmer's sudden death sent shockwaves beyond the world of sport during the cricket World Cup.

Detectives launched a murder investigation after an autopsy indicated that the former England Test player had been strangled.

The 58-year-old Briton was found dead in his Kingston hotel room on March 18, the day after cricketing powers Pakistan crashed out of the World Cup in an shock defeat to minnows Ireland.

A myriad of different possible explanations for his death have appeared in the world's press -- including the theory that he died from natural causes.

Following a review by London's Metropolitan Police, Jamaican officers privately agree that no third party was involved in Woolmer's death, the Daily Mail said in a front-page story.

"Mr Woolmer was not a well man. It is now accepted that he died of natural causes," a source close to the inquiry told the newspaper.

Jamaica's Deputy Commissioner of Police Mark Shields, a former Metropolitan Police detective, headed the investigation.

"The knives are out for Mark," a colleague said, according to the Daily Mail.

"It's enormously embarrassing ... there's blood on the carpet in the Jamaican police. With hindsight, he should have ensured a second post-mortem was carried out. Instead of saying the death was suspicious, he rushed out a statement saying it was murder. He is going to be a laughing stock," the colleague said.

Woolmer's body was eventually cremated on May 4 during a private family service in Cape Town, where he lived.

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