| Bob Woolmer
Kingston, June 12 (Agencies): Bob Woolmer was not murdered, Jamaican police said today, bringing to an embarrassing close a three-month investigation that had gripped the cricket world.
The former Pakistan cricket coach died of natural causes, the police have concluded.
Woolmer was found unconscious in his hotel room in Kingston on March 18 after his highly rated team lost to little fancied Ireland, triggering fevered speculation he had been murdered by an irate fan or an illegal gambling syndicate.
But reports from three independent pathologists and a toxicology test showed the 58-year-old former England international cricketer had died of natural causes and had no poison in his body, said Jamaican police commissioner Lucius Thomas.
“The JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) has accepted these findings and has closed its investigation into the death of Bob Woolmer,” Thomas said.
Something, it is now thought, had made Woolmer sick on the night he died — he had vomited — and the stress proved too much for his heart.
Woolmer’s widow Gill said in a statement issued in South Africa that the family was relieved. “My sons and I are relieved to be officially informed that Bob died of natural causes and that no foul play is suspected in his death. We hope that this matter will now be closed and that our family will be left to grieve in peace.”
Thomas said Jamaican police had always kept an open mind on murder suspicions and carried out an extensive investigation, including taking 350 statements and DNA samples of players.
He appeared to put the blame for the original declaration that Woolmer had been murdered on Indian-origin pathologist Ere Seshaiah, who found signs that the coach had been asphyxiated through manual strangulation.
Thomas tried to calm tension between the Pakistan cricket establishment and the Jamaican force by thanking the team for cooperating.
But the about-turn is likely to embarrass deputy commissioner of police Mark Shields, a former Scotland Yard officer, who had repeatedly said that he was conducting a murder investigation.
Shields said today: “We had to go with what we had got. The view now is that that opinion is incorrect.”