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November 6, 2007
The inquest into the death of former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer took a twist on Monday with the coroner, Patrick Murphy, asking for further tests to be carried out on samples taken from Woolmer's body. Murphy also ordered that the retesting be completed by November 12, which means that the inquest is likely to continue beyond the scheduled closing date of November 9.
The directive came on a request from Mark Shields, the Jamaica deputy commissioner of police, following discrepancies in the toxicology reports by forensic scientists from the Caribbean and the UK. Shields said more samples would be retrieved from the UK and the local forensic laboratory.
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 the government pathologist Ere Sheshiah's finding that Woolmer was murdered and released a statement to that effect. However, a review by three other pathologists - Nathaniel Cary, Michael Pollanen and Lorna Martin - said Woolmer died of natural causes, possibly due to a heart attack.
As the investigation continued, toxicology tests could not conclude whether Woolmer was injected with a poison or not. Marcia Dunbar, a Jamaican forensic analyst, testified at the inquest that evidence of the pesticide cypermethrin was found in blood and urine samples. Of three samples of blood taken from Woolmer, Dunbar said one tested positive for cypermethrin while the others did not and no suitable explanation was given for this. She also said that one of the containers she received from the police containing the samples had been contaminated.
John Slaughter, a British forensic expert, later told the inquest that said he found no pesticide in the sample which was tested in his lab on May 4. He said the presence of cypermethrin could have been due to contamination at the government forensic laboratory in Kingston.
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