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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 June 2007, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Woolmer finding: International reaction
Jamaican police have confirmed that Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer was not murdered but died of natural causes. Mr Woolmer, 58, died shortly after being found in his hotel room in Kingston, the day after his team lost to Ireland in the cricket World Cup in March.

An initial pathologist's report concluded he had been strangled and Pakistani players were questioned in the investigation.


Bob Woolmer
Bob Woolmer was found unconscious in his hotel room
This dramatic, embarrassing U-turn was never going to be an easy thing for the Jamaican police, but for the Woolmer family it has been a lot harder.

They have already endured being told that Bob Woolmer had been murdered.

Now they have been informed that all the rumours, speculation and constant phone calls were for nothing.

Bob Woolmer did in fact die of natural causes. Jamaican Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas offered his condolences, albeit three months after the death.

"My hope is that despite the trauma of the last two-and-a-half months, Mrs Woolmer and her sons will be confident that the JCF [Jamaican police] has done all it can to establish the truth surrounding the death of her husband,'' he said as he sat alongside the detective who has been the public face of this enquiry, Deputy Commissioner Mark Shields.

Mr Shields, a former Scotland Yard officer, has already come in for some heavy criticism and calls for his resignation.

But a statement from Gill Woolmer supported his investigation and the deputy commissioner himself is determined to stay in his job, something he claims to have done well.

"The call for resignation is frankly a bit rich," Mr Shields told the BBC.

"We have done nothing other than a thoroughly professional job throughout. We said from the outset we would keep an open mind. We were given an opinion that said Bob Woolmer was murdered and it would have been extremely arrogant for me to ignore that opinion and form my own."

That opinion came from Kingston's own pathologist, a report which has now been labelled as seriously flawed by the police.

The World Cup was supposed to showcase their island, instead it showed that Jamaica has some serious problems with its infrastructure

For the Jamaican police, this case is all but closed, but there are still many serious questions left for the Jamaican authorities.

The 2007 Cricket World Cup will now only be remembered for the death of Bob Woolmer and this dramatic and flawed investigation.

It has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Jamaicans. The World Cup was supposed to showcase their island, but instead it showed that Jamaica has some serious problems with its infrastructure.

There are few facilities to investigate suspicious deaths and it is now likely that the Jamaican government will carry out a full review of its pathologists.

The fate of Dr Ere Seshaiah, whose pathology report sparked the murder inquiry, is still unknown.


The announcement by the Jamaican police that Bob Woolmer died of natural causes did not come as a surprise to anyone in Pakistan, given how heavily the story had been leaked to the press.

TV channels interrupted their programmes only briefly to show one-minute of the press conference in Jamaica before reverting to their usual programmes.

However, the news has stirred emotions in the cricket community once again.

"The Pakistan Cricket Board should sue whoever is responsible for this humiliation that the Pakistan team went through, Pakistan cricket went through and Pakistan as a country went through," Imran Khan, a former captain of Pakistani cricket team, told the BBC in London.

Referring to the DNA testing and fingerprinting of the Pakistani players, he said he thought "it was the most humiliating moment for Pakistan cricket. And just because someone made a mistake, I do not think they should get away with it".

Legal action?

Many Pakistanis feel vindicated by the conclusions of the police investigation.

The predominant view here was that Bob Woolmer had diabetes, blood pressure, an enlarged heart and respiratory problems, which may have been made worse by Pakistan's defeat at the hands of Ireland, and a bottle of champagne that he took to his room.

Others are also implying that action should be taken against those in Pakistan who linked Bob Woolmer's death to what they call the "match-fixing mafia".

Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief, Sheharyar Khan, does not think legal action is a suitable option, though he acknowledges that the Pakistani cricketers went through a painful phase.

"I think the PCB should lodge a complaint with the ICC and the Jamaican government, and demand a formal apology," he says.

A former Pakistani cricket team captain, Intikhab Alam, joined in the chorus insisting on an apology by the Jamaican police.

"What's done is done, but an apology would satisfy the players who were subjected to indignity."

Another former captain, Ramiz Raja, pointed the finger of blame at just about everyone, from the police to the media to the Pakistan team's media adviser, PJ Mir.

"All of them took it upon themselves to spin a different tale every day, creating confusion and tarnishing the name of Pakistan."


Bob Woolmer's close friend, Professor Tim Noakes of the University of Cape Town said he was relieved to be told officially that the former Pakistan coach died of natural causes.

"Obviously one still went through the grieving process but it's much easier to accept rather than have to worry about some evil forces out there who were out to stop Bob," he said.

"Would they have stopped at Bob, if indeed he had been murdered?

"Also, Bob could have been tainted by various suspicions around the reasons for the murder. It would have been really awful if in 10 years' time someone came out to admit they killed Bob.

"It would just have re-opened old wounds. At least now he can rest in peace and his family can find closure," Professor Noakes added.

Mr Woolmer had been working with Professor Noakes on a cricket coaching manual which is due to be published before the end of the year.

"This manual would probably have been at its best in its third edition because there was still so much Bob could have offered. He was really just scratching the scratching the surface."

Professor Noakes revealed he had some prior indication that the Jamaican police would backtrack on their murder verdict when commissioner Mark Shields visited Cape Town last month.

"He spoke to Bob's wife Gill and myself at length and told us there wasn't enough evidence to confirm that Bob had been murdered."

Background to the death of Bob Woolmer

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