Woolmer inquest witness fears for her life

A key witness in the inquest into the death of cricket coach Bob Woolmer refused to testify on Wednesday, saying she had received telephone threats from members of the Indian community.

Janitor Patricia Baker-Sinclair told the inquest that she fears for her life and the safety of her family following her testimony on Tuesday that she saw Woolmer counting a large sum of US dollars in the stadium’s dressing room.

”She was told that Indians can be dangerous and they could burn her house,” coroner Patrick Murphy quoted from a letter that was submitted by Baker-Sinclair in the morning session.

Woolmer, a former England batsman, was found unconscious in his Jamaica hotel room on March 18, a day after his Pakistan team was humiliated by Ireland in the Cricket World Cup.

Woolmer was pronounced dead at the University of West Indies hospital, which sparked an intense manhunt by the Jamaican police.

Baker-Sinclair did finally appear in person at Wednesday’s afternoon session after being told she could be fined for not testifying.

”I will not be answering questions,” she told lawyer Jermaine Spence, who is representing the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) at the inquest.

”We are living in serious times and anything can happen.”

On Tuesday, Baker-Sinclair testified that she saw Woolmer with what appeared to be a large roll of US currency talking to an Indian man in the Pakistan team’s dressing room at Sabina Park.

Spence replied that that it is not unusual for a coach to carry large sums of money especially during long road trips when they are given the task of distributing the players’ per diem payments.

Also on Wednesday, British forensic scientist John Slaughter testified he was unable to find any traces of the potentially deadly pesticide cypermethrin in blood samples taken from Woolmer’s body.

Slaughter’s testimony casts suspicion on previous statements from Jamaican officials who told the hearing that Woolmer had been poisoned with cypermethrin. – AFP



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