Woolmer: Cops deny team row

A week after the murder of Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer, Jamaican police sifted through security video for clues on Sunday.

They denied any knowledge of a row reported in media involving Pakistani players and coaches after a shocking World Cup loss to Ireland.

Jamaica deputy police commissioner Mark Shields knocked down stories that there had been a volatile exchange involving Woolmer on the team bus after Pakistan’s loss to Ireland.

“As far as I’m aware at the moment the players and officials were quite subdued on the bus and there was no heated exchange between anybody at all,” he said at a news briefing at the Pegasus Hotel.

Woolmer (58) was found unconscious in his room at the hotel last Sunday after the team’s stunning loss to World Cup debutants Ireland that knocked heavily favoured Pakistan out of the tournament.

Police said on Thursday that he was strangled and declared his death a murder.

Highlighting the problems of investigating the high-profile killing of one of the best known cricket coaches in the world, Shields said investigators were carefully transferring hotel security video tapes to digital format before reviewing them thoroughly.

The tape from the 12th floor

Shields said they were particularly interested in a tape from the 12th floor, where Woolmer’s room was located, but did not say whether investigators had actually looked at the tape.

“It’s critically important because it may give us an image of the killer or killers of Bob Woolmer,” he said.

The probe was hampered by the fact that many witnesses, including players, cricket officials and fans were leaving for other islands as the Jamaica leg of the tournament took a hiatus. It returns for the first semifinal on April 24.

“Of course, it makes it more difficult. This is an extraordinary investigation because many of the potential witnesses are leaving the island,” he said, adding that he did not believe it would become a major issue.

Pakistan’s cricket team flew out of Kingston on Saturday night and landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday en route home.

Police planned to take Pakistani diplomats from Washington on a tour of the crime scene on Sunday and were consulting with an anti-corruption investigator from the International Cricket Council.

Speculation was rampant that Woolmer’s murder could be tied to match-fixing.

Shields said he hoped to have toxicology and other forensic test results this week and said he was happy with the progress but not the results of the investigation.

“I think happy with the progress would be if we had people in custody for Bob’s murder, so therefore, no, I’m not happy,” he said.

The seven-week World Cup culminates in the April 28 final in Barbados.
- Reuters

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