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Woolmer poisoned then strangled: BBC report

Woolmer poisoned then strangled: BBC report
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First Published: Tue, May 01 2007. 04 32 AM IST

Updated: Tue, May 01 2007. 04 32 AM IST
LONDON: Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer, who was murdered in Jamaica during the World Cup more than a month ago, was poisoned before being strangled, a BBC documentary said on 30 April.
Woolmer was found dead on March 18, a day after Pakistan were eliminated from the World Cup following a shock defeat by Ireland.
He was found unconscious in his hotel room and pronounced dead at hospital. Police said he was strangled in a crime still shrouded in mystery.
The BBC’s Panorama programme, in an investigation screened on 30 April’s night, said preliminary toxicology tests showed that Woolmer, who was 6ft 2in (1.88 metres) tall and heavily built, was subdued by a drug that left him helpless to fight back against his assailants. The drug had not yet been identified.
He was then both strangled and smothered.
“A lot of force would be needed to do that. Bob Woolmer was a large man and that’s why one could argue that it was an extremely strong person or maybe more than one person,” police officer Mark Shields, who is investigating the case, said.
“But equally the lack of external injuries suggests that there might be some other factors and that’s what we’re looking into at the moment,” Shields told Panorama.
“There was a drug in his system, incapacitating him...This is a significant lead in finding his murderer.”
The programme screened the last recorded image of Woolmer, taken after Pakistan’s shock defeat.
A blurred recording from a CCTV camera at the Pegasus Hotel shows the coach heading back to his room on the 12th floor, where his body was found the following morning.
Police in Jamaica have not yet made any arrests in connection with Woolmer’s death, which cast a huge shadow over the cricket World Cup that ended on Saturday and was won by Australia.
Speculation about his murder has included suggestions that he had uncovered a match-fixing scandal, that he was killed by a supporter with a grudge or that he had been the target of a fatwa.
The 58-year-old former England player’s body arrived back in Cape Town, where he lived and where his funeral will be held, on Sunday.
2 Pak scribes shown in ‘last’ CCTV footage
The “last” CCTV footage of Bob Woolmer aired by BBC shows him with two Pakistani journalists one of whom said the video was of March 16, two days before the coach of the Pakistani cricket team was found dead in his hotel room in Jamaica.
The two persons shown in the BBC footage with Woolmer in the hotel in Kingston are journalists Majid Bhatti, senior cricket correspondent of the Jung group of newspapers, and Ehsan Qureshi of state-owned news agency APP.
Bhatti said: “I started getting calls from everywhere and I was surprised to learn about the footage. But it was from March 16, one day before the match against Ireland and we were speaking to Woolmer as we returned from a party for the Irish team”. (PTI)
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First Published: Tue, May 01 2007. 04 32 AM IST
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