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Police now treating Woolmer death as suspicious

By Simon Evans and Richard Sydenham
Last updated on: March 21, 2007 10:57 IST
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Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer's death at the World Cup on Sunday is now being treated as "suspicious" by Jamaican police, the deputy commissioner Mark Shields told a news conference on Tuesday.

"Having met the pathologist, medical personnel and other investigators, there is now sufficient information to continue a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Woolmer which we are now treating as suspicious," Shields said, reading a short statement.

"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 (International Cricket Council) to ensure that all the parties are kept informed of the ongoing investigation."

One of the top coaches in the world, Woolmer, 58, was found unconscious in his Kingston hotel room on Sunday less than 24 hours after their World Cup defeat by Ireland and pronounced dead in hospital later that day.

Reports from the Pakistan camp at the time said that 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.

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 elimination was greeted with fury by fans back home in the cricket-crazy nation who burned effigies of the players.

"Obviously 'suspicious' could be anything at this moment," Pakistan team spokesman Pervez 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."

Shields told reporters that "we have no suspects".

The governing body, the ICC, refused to comment when contacted by Reuters on the police statement but spokesman Sami-ul-Hasan said that they expected the 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".

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).

He added the team will play their final World Cup group game against Zimbabwe at Sabina Park on Wednesday.

After a hastily-arranged meeting of the Pakistan Cricket Board, International Cricket Council and World Cup officials, Mir told Reuters: "We are playing. The chairman of our Board said we will play. The security is fine."

The seven-week World Cup culminates on April 28 with the final in Barbados.

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Simon Evans and Richard Sydenham
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