Bob Woolmer inquest November 1, 2007

Blood sample contamination possible: forensic scientist

Cricinfo staff

A British forensic scientist has told the coroner's inquest into the death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer that the traces of the pesticide cypermethrin found in Woolmer's blood sample could have been due to contamination at the government forensic laboratory in Kingston.

"I cannot say for certain but it may have been contaminated. I can't think of any other explanation," John Slaughter said. He added that unlike the test results from Jamaica and Barbados, he found no pesticide in the sample which was tested in his lab on May 4.

Marcia Dunbar, an analyst at the government forensic laboratory, had testified that traces of cypermethrin had been found in one out of three blood samples but couldn't explain why it was absent in the other two. She also said that one of the containers she received from the police containing the samples had been contaminated. Michael Best, a Barbadian pathologist, testified to finding traces of cypermethrin in Woolmer's blood.

A janitorial supervisor in the Pakistan dressing room refused to testify on Wednesday saying she had received telephone threats from members of the Indian community after her testimony on Tuesday. Patricia Baker-Sinclair had told the inquest that she saw Woolmer counting a bundle of US dollar notes in the presence of another man who she claimed looked Indian.

"She [Baker-Sinclair] was told that Indians can be dangerous and they could burn her house," coroner Patrick Murphy read from a letter that was submitted by Baker-Sinclair.

Woolmer was found unconscious in his room at the Pegasus Hotel in Jamaica on March 18, a day after Pakistan's shock defeat to Ireland in the World Cup. The police had initially backed pathologist Ere Sheshiah's finding that Woolmer was murdered and released a statement to that effect, but after a review by three other pathologists Nathaniel Cary, Michael Pollanen and Lorna 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.