Woolmer / News

Insufficient evidence for murder or natural death

Woolmer jury delivers open verdict

Cricinfo staff

November 28, 2007

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Bob Woolmer: insufficient evidence of either a criminal act or natural causes © Getty Images
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A jury in Jamaica has recorded an open verdict on the death of the former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, after deciding that there was insufficient evidence of either a criminal act or natural causes. The 11-member jury, which began considering a verdict last week after five weeks of evidence, received more instructions from the coroner Patrick Murphy before agreeing they were unable to decide.

Murphy originally told jurors about possible outcomes a week ago as they began to consider whether Woolmer's death occurred by natural causes, accidental death, suicide, murder and involuntary or voluntary manslaughter. The verdict came after 26 days of testimony from 57 witnesses and the local police have closed their case.

"We do not intend to go any further with these investigations," said the Jamaican deputy police commissioner Mark Shields said. He explained the police had already "conducted a thorough and one of the largest investigations in recent years and had always been confident that Woolmer died of natural causes". They interviewed more than 400 people, collected statements from 250 witnesses and pursued 500 lines of inquiry.

Murphy, who presided over the inquiry, said the cause of death would now be left up to Jamaica's chief prosecutor, adding that another inquest was not possible. "You've done your job, thank you very much," he told the jury. "The inquest is now over and you are excused."

The ICC, in its reaction to the verdict, noted that extensive investigations by the Jamaican Constabulary Force and the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit found no evidence of match-fixing or corruption of any kind in this case.

Woolmer was found in his room at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on March 18, one day after Pakistan crashed out of the World Cup. He was later pronounced dead at the University Hospital of the West Indies.

A post mortem conducted by the government pathologist Ere Sheshiah led him to conclude that Woolmer was killed by asphyxiation due to manual strangulation. Jamaican police decided they had a murder on their hands but later abandoned the investigations after consulting with other experts who determined Woolmer's death was due to natural causes. Sheshiah and those who found no evidence of wrongdoing each made their case over the past two months before the jury's verdict.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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