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Commissioner of Police, Lucius Thomas has said that the police’s investigation into the death of former Pakistan cricket coach, Bob Woolmer, was thorough and professional.
“This was a thoroughly professional investigation where nothing was left to chance or assumption,” Commissioner Thomas stated at a press conference held yesterday (June 12) at the Police Officers’ Club in Kingston.
“We have always stated that the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) would conduct a thorough and far-reaching investigation to seek the truth,” he added.
Turning to the Pakistan team’s role in the investigation, the Commissioner pointed out that “throughout the process, the JCF treated all players, management and other officials with dignity and respect.” The investigative team, he noted, was particularly sensitive to the needs of the members of the Pakistan team, who were obviously shocked by the sudden death of their coach.
Commissioner Thomas credits the Pakistanis for their support and co-operation during the process, which enabled the investigative team to conduct the necessary interviews, despite the immense pressure of their grief.
He said that during the investigations, approximately 400 people were interviewed and 250 statements were taken. Additionally, the photographs, finger prints and deoxyribonucleic (DNA) samples collected, were all obtained from volunteer participants, including members of the Pakistan, Zimbabwe, West Indies and Ireland cricket teams.
External assistance and advice were sought from experts such as Professor Lorna Martin, Chief Specialist for Forensic Pathology Services for Western Cape, South Africa; and Dr. Michael Pollanen, the Chief Forensic Pathologist for Ontario, Canada, while the JCF worked in collaboration with international law enforcement agencies from England and Pakistan, as well as the International Cricket Council’s Anti-corruption team.
In the meantime, Commissioner Thomas said that given the important role of photography in this case, it is the recommendation of the JCF that photography be done for all postmortems conducted in Jamaica. “It is a very topical issue that is discussed almost everyday in the Ministry of National Security,” he pointed out.
Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of crime Mark Shields, who led the investigation, pointed out that “we have a thoroughly excellent digital photography record and video of the whole proceeding (postmortem) from the beginning and throughout, which has enabled other experts to have their opinion.” Mr. Woolmer was pronounced dead at the University Hospital of the West Indies on March 18, 2007.
Pathologists have concluded that he died from natural causes and not asphyxia caused by manual strangulation, as was initially stated.
The JCF has officially closed the investigation into the death and has submitted a comprehensive report to the Coroner, Patrick Murphy, who will ultimately determine the cause of Mr. Woolmer’s death.