Shamik Das

Friday, March 23, 2007

Official: Woolmer was murdered

Crime Scene Investigation: Jamaica

• Coach 'knew his killers' • Entire Pakistan squad quizzed

The Jamaican police have launched a global manhunt after confirming the cricket world's worst fears: that Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was murdered.

The police announced the news late last night, revealing Woolmer had been strangled to death - possibly by more than one assailant - after learning the results of a delayed post-mortem.

It is also widely believed that Woolmer knew his killer or killers. "I have to say at this stage that it looks as if it may be somebody who's somehow linked to him," said Mark Shields, deputy commissioner of the Jamaican police.

"Clearly he let somebody into his hotel room and it may be that he knew who that person was. Bob was a large man, it would have taken some significant force to subdue him."

Bob Woolmer and Hansie Cronje at Heathrow Airport    Jamaica's Deputy Police Commisioner, former Scotland Yard detective Mark Shields

The police also revealed that the whole Pakistan entourage were questioned and had their finger prints and DNA samples taken, with Shields adding that they would "rule nothing out" and were probing "lots of lines of inquiry".

Woolmer's death is the second tragedy to have afflicted South Africa's 1999 World Cup squad, following the demise and subsequent death of captain Hansie Cronje, who died in a plane crash in 2002.

Though Cronje was implicated in match fixing, an inquest revealed his death was the result of pilot error and not murder. Whether or not investigations into Cronje's killing will re-open in the wake of events in the Caribbean, and whether or not the two deaths are linked remain to be seen.


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