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Police confirm Woolmer died 'of natural causes'

Jamaica police have confirmed that Bob Woolmer died of natural causes and was not murdered

Cricinfo staff

Mark Shields: "We have conducted a thorough, professional examination" © Getty Images
Shortly after 11.00am, Lucius Thomas, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) commissioner, ended weeks of speculation by confirming that Bob Woolmer died of natural causes on March 18 and had not been murdered.
In almost three months since Woolmer's death, speculation had been rife about the motives for what was originally described by the JCF as "manual strangulation", a theory based on the post mortem carried out by Dr Ere Seshaiah, the Jamaica government pathologist.
South African and Canadian pathologists had concurred with a finding by a British forensics expert that "Mr Woolmer died of natural causes," Thomas said. In further toxicology tests, "no substance was found to indicate that Bob Woolmer was poisoned".
"The JCF accepts these findings and has now closed its investigation into the death of Mr Bob Woolmer," Thomas continued. "Neither the ICC nor the JCF have found any evidence of any impropriety by players, match officials nor management during the investigation of Woolmer's death."
Pakistan players expressed anger and relief over the news, with some calling for the investigators to be sued. The Pakistan squad were all fingerprinted and provided DNA samples after Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room.
Inzamam-ul-Haq, at the time the captain and one of three squad members who were questioned twice, said there was no need to reopen wounds with legal action. "I don't feel court action would be of any use now. The players in general and I, as captain in particular, went through hell and those were the most terrible days of our lives. We must be ready to handle such things better in future by involving the government and the Pakistan Cricket Board from the initial stages."
The Jamaican police defended their handling of the case, which had appeared at first to cast suspicion on members of the Pakistan team, arguing they could not "second-guess" the first pathologist's report.
"This was an extraordinary case," Mark Shields, the high-profile deputy commissioner who led the investigation said. "We are in a very difficult situation. All we could do was look at what we had... and seek help from elsewhere, which is what we did.
"Murder investigations are not like TV series, where everything is wrapped up in 45 minutes. All we could do was conduct a thorough investigation and not rush."
Detectives from Scotland Yard and Pakistan were brought in to review the investigation, according to the JCF, which said it had interviewed nearly 400 people and taken almost 250 statements.
The force "adopted a thoroughly professional investigation where nothing was left to chance. Every effort has been made by the JCF to seek the truth surrounding Bob Woolmer's death," Thomas said. "My hope is that despite the trauma of the last two and half months, Mrs Woolmer and her sons will be confident that the JCF has done all it can to establish the truth surrounding the death of her husband."
Gill Woolmer released this statement: "My sons and I are relieved to be officially informed that Bob died of natural causes. We realise that this investigation has been problematical given the circumstances and the media spotlight. We hope this matter will now be closed and that our family will be left to grieve in peace."
The fall-out from the embarrassing about-turn by police, however, will rumble on. Already, Shields and Reneto Adams, the senior superintendent, have crossed swords. Adams called for Shields to resign on national TV last week, but Shields fired back demanding that Adams step down for his part in other cases. The pair are old adversaries, stemming from Shields's investigation into a bungled police raid spearheaded by Adams.