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Woolmer strangled, say Jamaica reports

The Bob Woolmer tale took a new turn with the Jamaican Radio claiming its sources had confirmed that the late Pakistan coach was strangled to death, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: Mar 23, 2007 03:31 IST

The Bob Woolmer tale took a new turn on Wednesday with the Jamaican Radio claiming its sources had confirmed that the late Pakistan coach was strangled to death. Also, two leading Jamaican newspapers quoted unnamed police sources as saying that Woolmer may have been strangled to death, and his widow Gill conceded there was a possibility of his being murdered.

The lobby of the Hotel Pegasus was abuzz almost throughout the day with officers from the forensic department carrying out an extensive search in the room where Woolmer was found lying unconscious on Sunday.

Hell broke loose at around 5 p.m. local time when news filtered in that Jamaican Radio had broadcast what everyone else was looking for but could not get. Rohan Powell, a journalist from that station, became hot property instantly with scores of mediamen surrounding him for interviews.

“I am unable to tell where we have got this news from,” he said. “But we have learnt from extremely reliable sources that Woolmer was indeed strangled to death. I can’t say whether we have got this information from the police or the hospital. We expect the police to come up with a reaction soon.”

The police did not react till late in the evening when deputy commissioner of police Mark Shields came to the hotel. He refused to either deny or confirm the news.

Thursday's edition of Jamaica Gleaner said a “high-ranking police officer confirmed that fresh evidence has surfaced, suggesting that Woolmer was strangled in his room at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel between Saturday night and Sunday morning”.

"A bone in the neck, near the glands, was broken and this suggests that somebody might have put some pressure on it,” the newspaper said.

The Jamaica Observer also quoted unnamed sources close to the investigation as saying that bones in the lower part of Woolmer's face were broken, suggesting he had been strangled.

Meanwhile, Gill, Woolmer's wife, said she had not ruled out the possibility that her husband had been murdered. “I suppose there is always the possibility, I mean some of the cricket fraternity fans are extremely volatile and passionate about the game and about what happens in the game... so I suppose there is always the possibility that it could be that (murder),” she said in an interview with Sky Sports.

The Jamaican Police have sought the help of Scotland Yard to investigate the death. A senior detective from the Yard has reached the Caribbean to liaise with the police there.

A team of specialist investigators is also preparing to fly from London to join the inquiry into Woolmer's death. The move follows a request from Shields, a former Scotland yard detective.