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Coroner~~s inquest for Woolmer to start on Apr 23

Published: Friday, April 13, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Kingston (Jamaica):A coroner's inquest into the death of former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer will be held in the Jamaican capital Kingston on April 23, officials told reporters.

Coroner for Kingston, Patrick Murphy, confirmed here late on Wednesday that he had set the date for the start of the inquest in which more than 20 are slated to testify.

Information from Murphy's office said that 22 people had already been contacted to attend sittings and summonses were being prepared. Officials said that the inquest could last up to a month.

Woolmer, 58, was found apparently lifeless in his Kingston hotel room on March 18. He was pronounced dead later at hospital

Police said that Woolmer died of strangulation and the coroner said that an inquest had to be held before the body could be turned over to the family in South Africa.

The coach died one day after his Pakistan team were eliminated from the World Cup in a shock defeat to debutants Ireland. His death cast a pall on the entire tournament.

The inquest will be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, an elaborate building in the Jamaica capital that houses local and international meetings.

Jamaica's minister of justice Arnold Nicholson, in confirming that the inquest will be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, said that the coroner's office in the heart of downtown Kingston, was not adequate to house the inquest.

The coroner's office is based in an old and dilapidated building.

Some have criticised the coroner's office for speeding up the Woolmer inquest, saying more than over 4,000 cases were still not disposed of.

"There is a huge backlog of cases, so many outstanding matters to be dealt with, yet the Woolmer case gets priority," one local lawyer told.

Two members of Pakistan's police force were in Jamaica to work alongside local and international police personnel in trying to solve the murder, an Jamaican police source told.

"The policemen are here to assist with the investigations and they will work alongside local detectives and those from Scotland Yard," the officer said on condition of anonymity.

"They will play the primary role of liaison officers and will be the persons assisting mainly with getting in touch with Pakistan players and officials if they are needed for further information."

Inzy blasts security at Pegasus hotel: Meanwhile former Pakistan cricket captain Inzamam-ul-Haq criticised the security at the Jamaican hotel where coach Bob Woolmer was strangled during the World Cup last month.

Inzamam - who quit as skipper after Pakistan's exit and also announced his retirement from one-day internationals - said if the murder had happened in Pakistan there would have been a big fuss abroad.

"Four international teams were staying in one hotel - what security arrangements were made for them? There should be an investigation," Inzamam told private Geo television in an interview broadcast Thursday.

"We should raise this question" with the World Cup hosts, he added.

Two Pakistani policemen - one of whom led the probe into the 2002 murder of US reporter Daniel Pearl in the southern Pakistan city of Karachi - travelled to Jamaica last week to monitor the Woolmer investigation.

Jamaican police have said Woolmer was strangled to death in his room but have yet to identify the killers, despite persistent rumours of a link to match-fixing.

Inzamam said that following their World Cup debacle Pakistan should select an "experienced coach ... a person of good nature" as Woolmer's successor.

Inzamam again took responsibility for the defeat, adding the team's performance was dismal. "The team was not bad, but we played badly," he said.

He rejected as 'unfair' comments by critics that the team went to the West Indies without proper planning for the World Cup, pointing to Bangladesh's victory last week over South Africa.

Inzamam said he would not reverse his decision to retire from one-day cricket and would be ready to play under any skipper. "I would have no problem playing under any captain," he said.

Agencies

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