Woolmer~~s inquest to begin in Jamaica soon

Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 3:35 [IST]
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Jamaica: After reams of theories floated following former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer's death, 50 witnesses are expected to be called for inquest to put an end to the Woolmer saga.

The inquest will take place at Kingston's Jamaica Conference Centre.

The inquest, which is expected to end on November 9, will be presided over by Coroner Patrick Murphy. This is a second attempt at an inquest after the first, which was scheduled to be held on April 23, was postponed, according to Jamaica Gleaner.

Speculation was rife that the 58-year-old's death was linked to a match-fixing ring and was originally treated as murder. Though the police later changed their version to natural cause of death, following expert advice.

Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Shields said after announcing that Woolmer died of natural cause, ''We have conducted a thorough, professional investigation throughout. We said from the very beginning we would keep an open mind -- we said we would search for the truth.'' ''Had we not gone elsewhere for assistance in terms of getting second, third and fourth opinions from pathologists and seeking a review at an early stage, we may have been in a different position today.

''I believe it is through the JCF [Jamaica Constabulary Force] conducting such a thorough investigation that we are in a position to give you the facts as they are today.

''Ultimately it will be a decision for the coroner. But it is our belief that from all the work we have done, and from the opinion of three pathologists, that Bob Woolmer died of natural causes.'' Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room in Jamaica on 18 March after Pakistan ended their World Cup campaign in dismal note losing to Ireland in the first round. Following the his death rumours mongers had a field day, with conspiracy theories overshadowing the tournament.

The entire Pakistan squad were questioned and the police's handling of the case, particularly with regard to the number of theories that arose from it in the media, attracted considerable criticism.

Some reports suggest the Jamaican police have still not ruled out foul play - and that the inquest will investigate whether anyone was responsible for his death.


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