Police denies reports of Woolmer’s strangulation

Jamaica Police on Thursday denied media reports that Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was strangulated to death. Mark Shields, Deputy Commissioner of Police dismissed the strangulation theory as ‘media speculation’.

Kingston (Jamaica), March 22: Jamaica Police on Thursday denied media reports that Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was strangulated to death. Mark Shields, Deputy Commissioner of Police dismissed the strangulation theory as ‘media speculation’.

“Media always speculates. At this point of time our primary concern is Bob’s family,” Shields told reporters when contacted.

On Thursday, a Radio Jamaica reporter, quoting police sources, claimed that deceased Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer could have been strangulated.

"I have sources in Jamaican police and I stick by my sources. Maybe they wanted to make some extra precautions (before announcing)" he said.

Earlier, Jamaican Police had said after autopsy, that it was "suspicious" and were launching a "full investigation" into the circumstances surrounding the death of Bob Woolmer.

"The autopsy report was inconclusive on the cause of the death. Having met with the pathologists and other medical personnel, there is sufficient information to continue a full investigation into the circumstances of Woolmer`s death which is now being treated as suspicious," Mark Shields, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Jamaica, said in a statement today.

"We have already informed the Woolmer family of this development and we are also in close contact with the Pakistan team management, Cricket World Cup and the ICC to ensure all parties are kept informed of the ongoing investigation."

Asked at a press conference whether Woolmer`s death could be murder, Shields said, "It was too early to speculate."

He promised to keep the media updated on the developments.

Pakistan team Media Manager Pervez Mir said the Jamaican police have only come to the conclusion that the death was suspicious but it does not necessarily have to be "negative".

"Obviously `suspicious` could be anything at this moment," Mir said.

"It could be something serious, it could be something not serious. We have a man who is down and we don`t know the reason why."

Mir also said that the investigations were still on and inquiries needed to be done as the police have not been able to know the actual cause of the death.

Mir had said at the earlier new conference that further investigations were being carried out by a toxicologist and a histologist (scientist who examines body tissue).

Woolmer`s death came a day after Pakistan suffered a shock defeat against Ireland and was eliminated from the World Cup.

Pakistan were considered one of the leading contenders to win a title they claimed in 1992 but the shock defeat to debutants Ireland -- one of the biggest upsets in the history of the 32-year tournament coupled with an opening-day defeat by hosts West Indies, it led to their exit with one group game still to play.

The former England Test batsman, aged 58, died under mysterious circumstances on Sunday.

Woolmer was discovered by hotel staff lying on the floor in his room at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel with his mouth wide open. Blood was discovered on the bathroom floor, there was vomit on the walls and signs of diarrhoea.

He was rushed to Kingston University Hospital where he was declared dead an hour later.

Woolmer, based in Cape Town, South Africa, was a diabetic and also suffered from the rare sleeping disorder of Epnia where the patient stop breathing while sleeping.

Meanwhile, the ICC refused to comment when contacted by reporters on the police statement but spokesman Sami-ul-Hasan said that they expected Wednesday’s match to go ahead.

The hotel said it would not be commenting until it had been fully briefed by the police.

Earlier on Tuesday the Pakistan Cricket Board had said the findings from a post mortem into the death of Woolmer were "inconclusive".

Bureau Report

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