SA pathologist says Woolmer died of natural causes

South African pathologist Lorna Martin told the inquest into the death of Bob Woolmer that the former Pakistan cricket coach apparently died of natural causes and mistakes were made in his autopsy.

Woolmer died in Jamaica on March 18, hours after he was found unconscious in his hotel room the day after Pakistan’s upset loss to Ireland in the Cricket World Cup.

Martin became the third pathologist to criticise the post-mortem procedures of Jamaican government pathologist Ere Sheshiah, who reported that the former England player died of manual strangulation.

When authorities said they were treating the death as murder, it sparked feverish speculation that the case was somehow linked to match-fixing in international cricket.

However, three months later police said the murder investigation had been closed and that Woolmer died of natural causes.

British pathologist Nathaniel Cary and Canadian pathologist Michael Pollanen, like Martin, reviewed the post-mortem procedures and findings and concluded that Woolmer wasn’t strangled.

They said the findings indicated the 58-year-old died of natural causes related to heart disease.

”It doesn’t appear that the international practice was followed in the examination of the neck,” Martin testified on Tuesday. ”I am of the opinion that he died of natural causes.”

Martin, who signed the cremation certificate for Woolmer’s body after it arrived in his home of South Africa, said she reached that conclusion after viewing a video of Sheshiah’s autopsy.

Like Pollanen on Monday, Martin was asked about her knowledge of a toxin that was found in Woolmer’s body, and whether it could have been used to weaken him before strangling him.

”My disagreement with the cause of death [of strangulation], doesn’t come from whether the person was weakened or not, but comes from the injury or lack of injuries,” she said.

The inquest to determine the cause of Woolmer’s death, presided over by coroner Patrick Murphy and an 11-member jury, is expected to end on November 9. – Sapa-AFP

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