Investigators treating the case as 'homicide' March 22, 2007

Woolmer strangled - police source

Cricinfo staff

Bob Woolmer: a case of homicide? © Getty Images

Two leading Jamaican newspapers, in their editions on Thursday, quoted unnamed police sources as saying that that Woolmer may have been strangled to death.

The Jamaica Gleaner said a "high-ranking police officer" had confirmed that fresh evidence had surfaced suggesting that Woolmer was strangled in his room at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel between Saturday night and Sunday morning. According to the police officer, Woolmer was found half- naked in his room, partially wrapped in a towel. "A bone in the neck, near the glands, was broken, and this suggests that somebody might have put some pressure on it," the officer told the newspaper.

"We are now treating this as a homicide." The Jamaica Observer also quoted unnamed sources close to the investigation as saying that bones in the lower part of Woolmer's face were broken, suggesting he had been strangled.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington, head of World Cup security here, however refused to confirm rumours of strangulation, the Gleaner said. Deputy Commissioner of Police Mark Shields had said on Tuesday that an autopsy conducted on Woolmer's body by a government pathologist proved inconclusive as to the cause of death which was being treated as "suspicious." Shields said the police were awaiting the results of the toxicology and histology analysis from Woolmer's tissue sample.

Detectives also reviewed tapes from closed-circuit cameras at the hotel, which could give them clues as to who entered Woolmer's room during the period in question.

Meanwhile, Woolmer's widow Gill appeared on Thursday to have conceded the possibility that her husband may been murdered. Asked by Sky News television about the claims that her husband was murdered, she said: "I suppose there is always the possibility. I mean some of the cricketing fraternity, fans are extremely volatile and passionate about the game and what happens in the game, and also a lot of it in Asia, so I suppose there is always the possibility that it could be that."

She added: "It fills me with horror, I just can't believe that people could behave like that or that anyone would want to harm someone who has done such a great service to international cricket."