Bob Woolmer inquest October 26, 2007

Third party involved in Woolmer's death, says pathologist

Cricinfo staff

Ere Sheshiah, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy of the Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, claimed that cell-phone pictures showed that a third party was behind Woolmer's death. On the first day of his testimony to an inquest in Jamaica, Sheshiah had maintained that Woolmer had died because of poisoning and strangulation.

"After viewing the cellular phone pictures taken by Dr [Asher] Cooper [the first doctor to attend to Woolmer], I think definitely that there was a third party [involved]," Sheshiah said.

He criticised the three pathologists - Nathaniel Cary of England, Michael Pollanen of Canada and Lorna Martin of South Africa - who had pointed out flaws in his post-mortem procedure and testified that Woolmer died due to natural causes. Sheshiah said that the review procedure was "unusual and unacceptable", Cary's opinion was not final, and that Martin gave her findings without seeing the histology and toxicology reports.

Sheshiah also said that Woolmer was found with his head under the toilet bowl. "In my opinion, it is not possible for the disease to put him in such a position. This definitely speaks of a third party."

The fact that other pathologists had disagreed with his conclusion that the hyoid bone in Woolmer's neck was broken, was also addressed by Sheshiah, who stood by his findings despite admitting that an x-ray showed it might not have been broken.

Woolmer was found unconscious in his room at the Pegasus Hotel on March 18, a day after Pakistan's shock defeat to Ireland in the World Cup. The police had initially backed Sheshaiah's finding that Woolmer was murdered and released a statement in that effect, but after a review by Cary, Pollanen, and Martin, confirmed that Woolmer died of natural causes.

The inquest, presided over by coroner Patrick Murphy and 11 jurors, is expected to end on November 9.