Woolmer / News

Coverage diary

Bob Woolmer investigation round-up

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June 14
Peter Philips, the Jamaican security minister has ordered a review of the investigations into the death of Woolmer.

June 13
Dr Ere Seshaiah, the pathologist who conducted the post mortem on Woolmer, defends his findings. "I am sticking to my findings," he says. "He was murdered. Woolmer is not a first for me, I have been doing autopsies here [in Jamaica] since 1995."

June 12
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) end weeks of speculation by confirming that Bob Woolmer died of natural causes on March 18 and was not murdered. South African and Canadian pathologists had concurred with a finding by a British forensics expert that "Mr Woolmer died of natural causes," Lucius Thomas, the police commissioner, says. In further toxicology tests, "no substance was found to indicate that Bob Woolmer was poisoned".

The Pakistan board expresses relief at the news. Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the board, tells Cricinfo that it is now time to move on and that there are unlikely to be any legal ramifications from this.

Paul Condon, the head of the ICC's corruption-busting force, says said that people who linked Woolmer's death to match-fixing should now "shut up."

June 4
Pressure is growing on the pathologist whose post mortem led Jamaican police to launch a murder investigation to resign. And Mark Shields, the deputy commissioner of police, has slightly distanced himself from his findings. "Usually we investigate a murder and we look for suspects but on this occasion, because of the lack of evidence to support the pathologist what we've done is gone out to prove it's not a murder," he told The Times. "We have to go with what the pathologist gives, and if I'd ignored it and it had turned out to be true I would have been lambasted for not treating it seriously."

June 3
Jamaican police decline to comment as it is widely reported they are set to make an embarrassing climbdown and admit that Woolmer died of natural causes. It is revealed that his family were told last month that there was uncertainty over how he died.

June 2
According to reports in Daily Mail, Scotland Yard detectives have told Jamaican police that Woolmer was not murdered but died of natural causes. Police are expected to announce the findings later this week.

May 23
The BBC dismisses a claim by Ehsan Qureshi, a Pakistani journalist, that its Panorama programme implied he was connected with the death of Woolmer. A spokesman said it was "preposterous to suggest that anything in this a programme is defamatory of Mr Qureshi or has damaged his reputation in any way at all."

May 20
Today's Sunday Times said that police in Jamaica have privately admitted that Dr Ere Seshaiah, the Kingston pathologist, was wrong to say that Woolmer had been strangled. But Seshaiah told the paper that he stood by his diagnosis that Woolmer was killed by "asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation". Nevertheless, the future of the investigation now seems to centre on the results of toxicology tests.

May 14
As reports continue to circulate that the investigation will decide that Woolmer was not murdered, the Jamaica police again dismiss speculation as "unhelpful", adding that they were still undertaking a murder investigation : "That will remain our position until such time as the results of the investigation are known; including the forensic and pathology analysis."

May 13
Reports in The Sunday Telegraph say that the last email sent by Woolmer to the PCB could well be a fake as the language used was not consistent with his style. The Jamaica Gleaner carries a report which claims that there is evidence that Woolmer was not murdered.

May 10
According to Pervez Mir, Pakistan's media manager during the World Cup, the two champagne bottles found in Woolmer's room were passed on to him by Mushtaq Ahmed, Pakistan's assistant coach, who had left them in his hotel room

May 9
Jamaican police insist that they have credible evidence to suggest Woolmer was murdered as against reports of Pakistani investigators stating otherwise.

May 8
A Pakistani investigator point to lack of evidence suggesting that Woolmer was murdered.

May 7
A report in London's Sunday Times claims that there is evidence Woolmer was poisoned using weedkiller.

May 5
The team of Pakistani investigators have finished their report on Woolmer's murder, the results of which are due to be presented today.

May 4
Woolmer is cremated in a private ceremony, attended by his family, near to his home in Cape Town.

April 30
A BBC TV investigation claims toxicology reports prove Woolmer was drugged. It also reveals that there were deep religious divides within the squad.

April 29
Woolmer's body arrives in Cape Town.

April 26
Police rule out suggestions that snake venom was used on Woolmer, while Mark Shields hits out at "wild" rumours which he says are "causing a lot of distress" to the family. Woolmer's body leaves Jamaica en route to South Africa.

April 23
Jamaican government officials give permission for Woolmer's body to be released and taken back to his family in South Africa. Shields and the Kingston coroner Patrick Murphy agree to the move, according to a statement from the ministry of national security.

April 22
A report in the Mail on Sunday quotes the Woolmer family as saying they have been told that police believe he was poisoned using a natural substance and that body tissue tests, which are the only way to establish that, are being undertaken in England.

April 21
Pakistan Cricket Board officials deny receiving a request from police in Jamaica to send any Pakistani player there in connection with investigations. Indian TV had reported that players, including Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mushtaq Ahmed, had been summoned to Kingston.

April 20
"New and significant developments" in the investigation delay the inquest that was due to start on Monday. A statement from the Jamaican justice ministry says the hearing will be postponed following advice from the coroner. "The coroner wishes that these new and significant developments be pursued with the utmost urgency."

April 19
Ireland's players end their World Cup adventure by giving statements, fingerprints and DNA samples to Jamaican police. "These tests were carried out with a view to eliminating the Ireland squad from their enquiries," a team spokesman says. On the night Woolmer was murdered none of the Ireland squad was in the Pegasus Hotel in Jamaica. The players were celebrating St Patrick's Day and the victory over Pakistan in Ocho Rios, which is "some 50 miles away".

April 17
Speculation that Woolmer was poisoned is resurrected by local newspapers in the Caribbean claiming to quote the toxicology report which states that samples taken from his blood, stomach and urine have shown the presence of a foreign substance. An unnamed government source says that this substance could have been poison.

April 16
It is reported that police officers from Jamaica will visit Pakistan to quiz players over "inconsistencies" in statements.

April 15
A report in the UK Sunday Times quotes police sources as saying that Woolmer was poisoned before being strangled. Mark Shields announces he will fly to South Africa to meet with Woolmer's family.

April 12
Jamaican police announce that CCTV footage from the Pegasus Hotel has been sent to Scotland Yard in London for further analysis.

April 12
Jamaican police announce that CCTV footage from the Pegasus Hotel has been sent to Scotland Yard in London for further analysis.

April 11
It is reported in Kingston that the coroner's inquest into Woolmer's death will start on April 23. Sources say that Patrick Murphy, the coroner for Kingston, will hold a full hearing, complete with live testimony from as many as a dozen witnesses who were in the process of being summoned to appear.

April 9
Inzamam-ul-Haq said the World Cup would have been stopped if Woolmer's death had happened in any other country. The replacements for Woolmer and Inzamam as coach and captain will be discussed on Tuesday when the Pakistan Cricket Board's ad-hoc committee meets in Lahore. Inzamam told a parliamentary committee the World Cup defeats were part of cricket and he was "hurt" by match-fixing allegations.

April 8
It wasn't a day for good news, with Mark Shields, the chief investigator, saying it may take another eight weeks to get the results of Woolmer's toxicology tests. The reports are crucial to proving whether Woolmer was poisoned or drugged and the delay means a quick end to the investigation is unlikely. "It's in everyone's interest to know exactly when he died and how," Shields said. "But frustrating as it may be, science goes at a certain pace." Apparently Woolmer's last meal was lasagne.

April 7
Gill Woolmer has given permission for the publication of his book which will be published in September.

April 6
Gill Woolmer says her husband did not mention match-fixing or being scared in his final emails. Mrs Woolmer, who did not want him to take the coaching position with Pakistan, thought the police were doing a "good job" but she wanted a "speedy conclusion" to the investigation. Woolmer was keeping a World Cup diary and planning to write a book about his time with Pakistan, but Mrs Woolmer said "it is best if that book never appears now". "If it is going to cause upset, it is not worth publishing."

April 5
No major developments in the case have emerged a day after the memorial service for Woolmer in Cape Town. Ian Chappell writes that Woolmer's murder ended any chance of his brother Greg continuing his role as India's coach. "Such an ugly incident is sure to focus your concentration on life's priorities. Greg is probably better off without all the angst that comes with one of the most demanding jobs in cricket."

April 4
Allan Donald says Woolmer "lived for the game and succumbed to the game" during a memorial service for his former coach in Cape Town. Donald also read a statement from Woolmer's widow Gill and her two sons while Tim Noakes, who co-authored a book with Woolmer, described him as a "cricket missionary". The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf attended the service at the Wynberg high school and said: "We in Pakistan loved Bob." Woolmer's body is still in Jamaica and there are reports it has been embalmed, which could make a second post-mortem difficult.

April 3
Four Scotland Yard detectives were due in Jamaica on Tuesday and they should be joined by a high-profile Pakistani policeman in a growing list of assistants. Mir Zubair Mahmood, who successfully led the investigation into the murder of the US reporter Daniel Pearl, is due to travel to Jamaica with another Pakistan security official on Wednesday. "It's a big, big responsibility on our shoulders and I hope we will be able to live up to the expectations," Zubair said. Interpol's Dr Susan Hitchen, a forensic expert in DNA analysis, has also arrived in Kingston to help the local police.

April 2
Mark Shields, the chief investigator, says there is a possibility a poison was used to incapacitate Woolmer before his death. "I have said from the beginning that if he was manually strangled, there are certain aspects that don't quite add up," Shields told AFP. Shields did not comment directly on a report that aconite had been used to kill Woolmer and said it was pointless speculating before the toxicology reports returned. In The Age there are concerns Jamaican bureaucracy will hold up the inquiry into Woolmer's death.

Meanwhile Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan board, has confirmed that the Pakistani policeman who led the probe into the murder of US reporter Daniel Pearl will travel to Jamaica to help police investigating the death of cricket coach Woolmer



Inzamam-ul-Haq lays a wreath during a memorial service for Woolmer in Lahore © AFP
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April 1
A memorial service is held for Woolmer in Lahore and Inzamam-ul-Haq was there with six of his team-mates. Four hundred mourners attended and they hear Woolmer was like a "second father" to the squad. "After Woolmer's family, the Pakistan team was the most aggrieved by his death," Inzamam says during the hour-long service. The Jamaica Gleaner says a blood-stained pillow was found in Woolmer's room, but Mark Shields, the chief investigator, does not confirm the report. Media speculation intensifies with reports in some papers claiming he was poisoned with the herb aconite.

March 31
More official cavalry is arriving in Jamaica with a team from Scotland Yard due to land in the next week after a request for help from the local police. Three detectives and a scenes of crime officer will make the trip to review the investigation into Woolmer's death. There will be even more foreign assistance in trying to track down the killers after Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, says two Pakistan police officers will also travel to Kingston. Ashraf, who says no players were involved in the crime, will attend Woolmer's memorial service in South Africa on Wednesday. He also says the next coach will be a Pakistani and announces the players' contracts would be suspended.

March 30
Pakistan has offered to send a three-person team to Jamaica to help with the investigation, following reports of dissatisfaction within Pakistan over how the case is proceeding. If approved by the Jamaican authorities, the group would likely include one PCB official, one diplomat and one senior investigative officer. A report in the Daily Telegraph also indicates the Jamaica police have requested a group of Scotland Yard detectives fly to Kingston to review the inquiry. Plans for a memorial service in Cape Town next Wednesday were also announced, with speakers to include Allan Donald.

March 29
The time of Woolmer's death is still in doubt, but Mark Shields, the chief investigator, is certain he was murdered. He confirms again that Woolmer died due to manual strangulation, possibly with a towel. CCTV has revealed all the people who were on the 12th floor of the Pegasus Hotel, but police have to wait for an exact time of death before Shields can "tie down when we should be looking at the tape". Dr Ere Seshaiah, the pathologist who carried out the autopsy, is confident of his findings, despite questions arising about the manner of the death. In Pakistan a report from Reuters says the team was ordered to play the final group game against Zimbabwe or they would have been handed severe fines.

March 28
Jamaica police dismiss speculation that there will be a second autopsy on Woolmer's body in a bid to quash media speculation that he might have died after hitting his head on the bathroom sink rather than have been murdered; that follows comments from an unnamed Pakistan board official who said: "We believe that the autopsy by the pathologist may have had error counts and [the police] are now considering having a second autopsy to confirm the cause of death".

March 27
Jamaican police are reported to be searching for three mystery fans who they want to question; they also say that an examination of Woolmer's laptop shows no evidence of anything to do with match-fixing; Mark Shields, the deputy police commissioner, explains that the meal Woolmer had in his room is also being examined. "We are looking at whether his food was drugged, the meal was thrown away after he put the tray outside his room, but we are conducting toxicology and tissue tests." Pakistan are officially eliminated from the police investigation into the murder.

March 26
Pakistan start their long journey home, but not before police had again questioned three members of the group. A Pakistan official complains that the team have been kept in the dark over the investigation.

March 25
As investigations continue, reports that the murder was related to match-fixing continue, Lord MacLaurin, the former head of the England board, launches a stinging attack on the way the ICC is run.
Shaharyar M Khan - A gentle man, a superb coach
News - Inzamam controlled the team, not Woolmer

March 24
The police order an inquest. It emerges that Woolmer was preparing to write a book on his time as Pakistan coach, in addition to one he had just completed on coaching in general. A clearly emotional Pakistan side play their final match, beating Zimbabwe.
News - Bob's loss hurts more than elimination - Inzamam

March 23
Speculation abounds, with match-fixing groups widely rumoured to be involved in the murder. There are calls for the "World Cup to be cancelled, while others suggest the tournament is played in Woolmer's honour. The PCB reveal Woolmer had sent an email shortly before he died resigning as coach. The Pakistan side are questioned and undergo DNA testing as part of the routine enquiries. Officials deny the squad have been asked to stay on in Jamaica after their final game. Michael Vaughan, England's captain, admits he has a "gut feeling" that there is still corruption in the game.
News - Woolmer had decided to retire
News - Academy to be built in Woolmer's honour
News - Musharraf honours Woolmer

March 22
Police confirm that they have launched a murder investigation. "The pathologist's report states that Mr Woolmer's death was due to asphyxiation as a result of manual strangulation," Karl Angell, a police spokesman, says. "In these circumstances, the matter ... is now being treated by the Jamaica police as a case of murder."

March 21
Shields reveals that Woolmer's death is now being treated as "suspicious" although he refuses to go further. Two Jamaican newspapers run headline stories claiming that a senior police source says Woolmer was murdered.
News - Bob was more than a coach - Rhodes

March 20
The first autopsy is inconclusive and the pathologist asks for more tests before the cause of death can be identified. The police refuse to be drawn on rumblings in the media that there is more to the death than meets the eye: "Any sudden death is treated as suspicious till we can say otherwise," says Mark Shields, Jamaica's deputy police commissioner.

March 18
News filters through that Woolmer has been found unconscious in his hotel room, within hours it is confirmed that he has died. Tributes pour in from across the world.
Obituary - Woolmer: a creative and adventurous coach
Tributes - 'He gave his life to cricket and died for it'
Osman Samiuddin - Thanks Bob, you did make a big difference
Comment - The price of passion
Kamran Abbasi - The tragedy of Bob Woolmer
Audio - 'Woolmer changed the way we played' - Cullinan
Audio - Cricket world poorer with the passing of Woolmer
Timeline - An eventful life, a premature end
Gallery - A life in pictures
Archive - Wisden Cricketer of the Year - 1976

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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