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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report


'Highly likely' killer's DNA in Woolmer room

Jim Loney | March 29, 2007 15:09 IST

Jamaican police plan to collect the DNA samples of every person in the 300-room hotel where Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer died because it is "highly likely" the killer left DNA in his room.

Matching DNA from hotel guests to a sample from the room could give police the identity of the killer, the officer leading the murder investigation told a news conference.

Police do not know how many people were in Kingston's Pegasus hotel on the weekend that Woolmer, one of the world's most famous cricket coaches, was strangled but concede it could easily be more than 1,000.

"I think it's highly likely" the killer left DNA in Woolmer's 12th floor room, Jamaica deputy police commissioner Mark Shields said.

"In a murder situation such as this, or indeed any other, people do leave traces of DNA. It really is a question of how much."

He said "there was nothing specific" that told police the killer had left such traces.

TALKED ABOUT

Woolmer's lifeless body was found on March 18 the day after his heavily favoured Pakistan side were eliminated from the World Cup by debutants Ireland.

The killing has since become one of the world's most talked-about whodunits with theories of the killer ranging from disgruntled fans or players to match-fixers and gambling syndicates.

Shields said none of those theories have been ruled out. The hotel has two restaurants and two bars and was packed with players, officials and fans attending the Cricket World Cup, as well as the hotel workers and security guards.

Shields denied a press report that a second autopsy would be performed on Woolmer's body to guard against a legal challenge to the first should a suspect be charged.

"There is no second post-mortem. There is no planned second post-mortem," he said.

A chambermaid found Woolmer's body in the bathroom of his room, prone and partly blocking the door. Police say the killer used his hands to strangle the former England batsman but there was no bruising on his neck.

Images from hotel security camera videotape have been transferred to a digital format and detectives have begun examining the pictures.

Shields said he is encouraged by the images and contradicted reports that blurry or grainy pictures were hampering the investigation.

"Images that I have seen can clearly identify people that were on the 12th floor," he said.

Shields has said the killer almost certainly came in the door and was probably let in by Woolmer.

Pakistan cricket board officials earlier said they suspected Woolmer died of natural causes and that Jamaican police acted hastily to declare it a murder.

Pakistan's players were questioned and gave DNA samples and fingerprints in Jamaica before heading home at the weekend.

It took Jamaican authorities four days to decide they were dealing with a murder but Shields said until there is proof to the contrary, the investigation would continue as a murder case.

"Until I get the final report from forensics, in terms of toxicology and everything else and gather all that information my mind is not changed one iota."

The World Cup action has left Jamaica for other Caribbean islands but the tournament returns there when Sabina Park, Kingston, hosts the first semi-final on April 24.

The final is in Barbados on April 28.


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