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March 27, 2007
Pakistan's players have been ruled out as suspects in the murder of Bob Woolmer, according to the deputy commissioner of Jamaican police. Mark Shields, the detective in charge, said: "It's fair to say they are now being treated as witnesses.
"I have got no evidence to suggest it was anybody in the squad," he said in Australia's Herald Sun. "There is still a very strong possibility that [Woolmer] knew the person or persons."
Shields said the players could be ordered back to the West Indies if the situation changed, but there were two diplomats from Pakistan's Washington embassy representing the squad in Jamaica. "[The diplomats] were taken to the crime scene for the first time today," Shields said. Pakistan left the Caribbean on Saturday and stopped over in London on their way home after exiting the World Cup in the first round.
Shields said investigators were "nowhere near" being able to pinpoint potential suspects or name names and said reports of three fans who were wanted for questioning were "unhelpful". The British press "are totally wrong with all due respect on this occasion," Shields told a news conference. "The reality, as I've said before, is that there are many potential suspects in this investigation and even more potential witnesses, and we are nowhere near the stage of being able to start naming names in terms of suspects."
Shields was earlier quoted by The Times saying detectives were trying to trace three Pakistani fans who socialised with players at Kingston's Pegasus Hotel where Woolmer was strangled. The report said the three were believed to have left Jamaica shortly after Woolmer was found dead on March 18.
CCTV footage from the 12th floor of the Pegasus Hotel is expected to help the investigators, who have started viewing the tapes of the day Woolmer was strangled. They have also begun to go through Woolmer's laptop to see if anything on the hard drive can help their inquiries.
Jeff Rees, the ICC anti-corruption chief investigator, is due to look at the report of Chris Broad, the ICC match referee, from the Ireland-Pakistan match to determine whether there is any link between the result and Woolmer's death a day later. Shields said he was looking at the possibility the killing was connected to match-fixing, but stressed he was keeping all lines of inquiry open.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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