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Woolmer probe focuses on hotel video

Police are trying to identify dozens of people captured by security cameras at the hotel where Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer was murdered, the lead investigator said on Wednesday.

About 80 unidentified people were filmed on Woolmer’s floor during the days he and his team stayed at Kingston’s upscale Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Shields said.

Woolmer was found strangled in his room on March 18, a day after his Pakistan squad was upset by Ireland in the World Cup.

”The [closed-circuit TV] work has been completed and we’re now looking at individuals on those tapes whom we’ve yet to identify,” said Shields, a former Scotland Yard detective heading the probe into the murder.

He did not say how many people police have identified so far.

Police were interviewing witnesses but did not intend to release the images, he said.

Shields said he was confident Woolmer’s killing will be solved, even though police have yet to announce any breakthroughs more than six weeks into the probe.

”We have a very positive attitude about this investigation, which, because of its complexity, is still young,” he said.

The BBC reported this week that a toxicology test detected a drug in Woolmer’s system that would have incapacitated him.

But Shields, who has previously raised the possibility that the burly 58-year-old Englishman may have been drugged before being strangled, said his team has not confirmed the presence of drugs in Woolmer’s system. Toxicology tests are being analysed at a British lab and may be completed next week.

”Until such time as we receive conclusive results, I will not speculate on what was or wasn’t in Bob Woolmer’s body,” he said.

Shields also told the Associated Press (AP) that police are exploring whether religious tensions on the Pakistan team factored into Woolmer’s killing, but said it was not a major focus.

After powerhouse Pakistan’s first-round ouster from the tournament, team spokesperson Pervez Jamil Mir told an inquiry in Pakistan that some players were more focused on praying than playing. In an interview with AP Television News, Mir also said some players had pressured others to join them in Muslim prayers.

Shields said he will meet with forensic experts in Britain next week and then travel to South Africa to interview Woolmer’s widow and family members. — Sapa-AP

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