'Bruises found on Woolmer's neck'

A Jamaican government pathologist detected bruises caused by strangulation on the neck of cricket coach Bob Woolmer.

updated: November 22, 2007 15:36 IST
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A Jamaican government pathologist detected bruises caused by strangulation on the neck of cricket coach Bob Woolmer, a senior police officer testified on Tuesday in a coroner's inquest to determine the cause of the high-profile death.

Police Deputy Superintendent Colin Pinnock said he was surprised by the finding of strangulation because he believed Woolmer, coach of Pakistan, had died of natural causes following the squad's upset loss to Ireland in Cricket World Cup.

Woolmer's March 18 death triggered a globe-spanning criminal investigation after pathologist Ere Seshaiah reported the coach had been strangled.

Jamaican police ended the probe in June after three other pathologists concluded he died from natural causes.

Pinnock said he was present on March 20 at the post-mortem when Seshaiah concluded there were bruises around Woolmer's neck.

Pinnock said another police officer entered the room and asked, "You mean he was strangled?" to which Seshaiah responded, "Exactly."

Seshaiah has testified that investigators prodded him for a cause of death but that he listed it as "pending" on the day of the post-mortem while he awaited results from the government forensic laboratory.

Pinnock also said Seshaiah completed his report on March 22 and concluded that the cause of death was asphyxia caused by manual strangulation.

In separate testimony, deputy police commissioner Mark Shields, a former Scotland Yard investigator who led the homicide probe, said the manuscript of a book Woolmer was writing has not been found, and that investigators had hoped to see the contents.

Early in the case, newspapers and Web sites speculated that Woolmer was killed because he planned to release a book exposing match-fixing in cricket.

But Woolmer's family dismissed the reports, saying he had not written anything that would have placed him in danger, and that he had received no threats.

Months ago, longtime Woolmer friend Tim Noakes, of South Africa, said rumours that Woolmer was about to blow the whistle on match-fixing in a book they were writing were "completely without substance."