Second opinion on autopsy sought, Jamaican papers hint at strangulation March 22, 2007

Police fingerprint Pakistan players

Cricinfo staff



Mark Shields told Cricinfo his team spoke to all the Pakistan players © Getty Images

3pm Jamaica time
Sources tell Cricinfo that the Pakistan players left their Kingston hotel by the back door at 2.15pm, after spending an hour with Mark Shields, Jamaica's deputy commissioner of police who is now heading the police investigation. "It was always understood that they would talk to us after the game", Shields tells Cricinfo. "They all cooperated, and provided us with statements.' Shields also says that, as of now, the police are still treating this as a suspicious death.

2.50pm Jamaica time
Reuters are reporting a story from Sky News that Bob Woolmer broke a bone in his throat while falling against a toilet bowl. The report was unsourced.

1.50pm Jamaica time
Talat Ali, the Pakistan team manager, released the following statement: "The media has been creating an impression that the Pakistan team are suspects. That is not true. They have been interviewed by the police but so have others too. The only reason they spoke to us first was because we had to leave for Montego Bay. They have finished taking our statements and we'll be heading for Montego Bay shortly."

1.40pm Jamaica time The Pakistani cricket team did not leave Jamaica for Montego Bay as planned, even though their luggage had been taken to the coach en route to the airport. Instead the team was taken down to the basement where Mark Shields, the police officer in charge of this investigation, spoke to the players and then they were fingerprinted.

* * *

After a day of little apparent forward movement in the investigations of Bob Woolmer's death, Jamaican police officials began questioning members of the Pakistani team on Thursday morning, hours before they were scheduled to catch a flight to Montego Bay. The questioning comes on the same day that two Jamaican newspapers claimed that 58-year-old Woolmer, who died on Sunday, had been strangled.



Fans in Pakistan set up a makeshift candlelight memorial to Bob Woolmer © Getty Images
"We're going through a process of speaking to people, including members of the team," said Mark Shields, the deputy chief commissioner of the Jamaican police force. Police officials later confirmed they had taken down the statements of all the team.

Colin Pinnock, the chief investigating officer, arrived at the team hotel at 8am, and entered into a discussion with Inzamam-ul-Haq, the team captain, and Pervez Mir, the media officer, during which there appeared to be a couple of disagreements. Some of the players appeared upset because they felt that they were now coming under suspicion for their coach's murder. "Why should we have done that, we had no reason to", one senior team member told Cricinfo.

Pakistan team spokesman Pervez Mir confirmed that the probe had been extended to the players, saying that the police were trying to ascertain Woolmer's last movements and stressing that no cautions had been issued. The police, he said, asked the Pakistani players "general questions" - when they last saw Woolmer, what were his last movements, what happened after the game, did he order anything in his room.

The players were due to catch a flight to Montego Bay at 1-15 p.m. local time; they will stay there till Saturday before flying back to Pakistan.

The only official communication on Wednesday was a late-night statement from Karl Angell, the Jamaica Constabulary Force's director of communications, that an expert was being flown in from Florida to provide a second opinion on the autopsy. There is no press conference scheduled as yet for Thursday. Two Scotland Yard detectives have been reported as being due to join the investigation this week.

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