Shields says he couldn't hold people against their will March 26, 2007

Pakistan's departure avoided 'diplomatic incident'

Cricinfo staff



Mark Shields: "Murder is not solved in 45 minutes like it is on TV" © AFP
Mark Shields, the deputy commissioner of Jamaican police, said he had to allow the Pakistan team to leave Jamaica in order to avoid a diplomatic incident in the aftermath of Bob Woolmer's murder. Speaking to The Times, Shields said the police did not have sufficient evidence to detain any team member and doing so "would have had an extremely adverse effect on the World Cup".

Shields was concerned there would have been an uproar "if I had started holding people against their will". Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room on March 18.

Part of the investigations include analysing the video tapes from the CCTV on the 12th floor of the Pegasus Hotel, where Woolmer had his room. Shields said the footage could provide the police with the breakthrough they needed. "I am very optimistic," he said. "If the quality is as good as I hope it is they will help us significantly in our investigation of who went on to the 12th floor that Sunday, or Saturday night."

Door keycards of every room in the hotel were also being checked to figure out movements inside the hotel leading up to the time of Woolmer's death. "It's a huge task," Shields said. "But when we do that we get the time of death." Police are also examining Woolmer's laptop for clues.

Shields said the police were yet to eliminate anyone as a suspect. "Everybody at the moment is a witness, but we do not have more suspicion about one person over another," he told the paper. "Murder is not solved in 45 minutes like it is on TV. In reality it's not like that."

According to an AFP report Shields said that although the doors to each room could not be viewed through the cameras, the ends of the corridor were visible. "[It] will give us an indication who was on that floor," he said.

He also dismissed rumours the players had argued with the coach after Pakistan's defeat against Ireland. "As far as I'm aware at the moment," he said, "the players and officials were very subdued and there was no heated exchange."

All members of the Pakistan team were questioned and later asked to provide DNA samples. Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, and Mushtaq Ahmed, the assistant coach, were interviewed a second time before the team was allowed to leave Jamaica on Saturday. An inquest has also been ordered into the murder and Woolmer's body will remain in Jamaica until the proceedings are over.

Dalawar Chaudhry, a Pakistan official who organised the team's stopover in London, said the players were very low. "I have had a word with all the boys and they have lost someone very near and dear to them," Chaudhry told AFP. "A father figure has been lost ... They haven't been sleeping well. It's been a very emotional time."

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