The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘We’re stunned by the latest development’
- Life goes on... I’ve got to remain calm, says Gillian Woolmer

Calcutta: It has been a double shock for Gillian Woolmer. If Sunday brought devastating news about husband Bob’s death in mysterious circumstances, she now has to reconcile with the “suspicious” angle.

Indeed, foul play has become a very distinct possibility.

“We’re stunned by the latest development... I’ve been informed about the line of investigation being followed... We ourselves didn’t suspect anything over the past few days,” Gillian told The Telegraph on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite the tragedy, Gillian was calm as she spoke on her cellphone from Cape Town. Staying composed is, clearly, an enviable characteristic of the Woolmers.

“Life goes on... I’ve got to remain calm... I’ve got no choice as there are so many issues to handle... Bob expected me to stay composed in difficult situations... Of course, I’ve gained courage from the outpouring of grief... The family’s pain is shared by so many across the world.”

Gillian added she’d been “touched” by the effort being made by the authorities in Jamaica and the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Given the theories that have gained currency after the “suspicious” bit announced by Jamaica’s deputy commissioner of police, Mark Shields, one asked whether Bob had ever talked about a possible threat to his life.

“Never... Never... There was no threat and he didn’t have any fears... I can’t understand...” Gillian responded, getting a trifle emotional for the only time during the conversation.

She revealed that Bob had sent an email after Pakistan’s sensational loss to Ireland, but because of the time difference, she’d read it the next morning. “Obviously, he was disappointed, but there was nothing disturbing in that email... Bob didn’t suggest he was feeling unwell, but the TV clips showed he’d been under enormous stress...”

Asked whether one of her sons (Dale is in the UK, while the younger one, Russell, is currently in Cape Town) would make the trip to Kingston after what Shields said, she replied: “No... There’s no change in our plans... We can’t do anything, it’s all in the hands of the investigators...”

Gillian, by the way, was moved that a Calcutta-based newspaper had telephoned. “I appreciate your call and the condolences sent by so many people whom we’ve never met... I’m aware that Bob spent a part of his childhood in Calcutta...”

Till he was 11, the Kanpur-born Bob would spend his vacations at 4 Alipore Estate where his parents stayed as long as father Charles, who held a senior position with the Royal Exchange Insurance Company, was posted in the city.

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