Bob Woolmer: Hi-tech death conspiracy

More than 12 hours after police confirmed Bob Woolmer’s death was ‘suspicious’, they couldn’t add to it substantively, but the whispers had begun to get louder.

Out at Sabina Park, a devastated Pakistan team began the last match of their World Cup nightmare with a start that would have probably pleased their dead coach. Inzamam-ul Haq blasted a 35-ball 37 in the last match of an exceptional one-day career. Batting first against Zimbabwe, Pakistan reached 328-9 in 48.

At a hurriedly convened media conference around 8 am India time on Wednesday, Mark Shields, deputy commissioner of the Jamaican Constabulary Force, said ‘there was enough information (about Woolmer’s death) to be suspicious’.

This was hours after the police had ruled out foul play, even though the autopsy had been ‘inconclusive’. How did it happen?

Strangled? Signs of diarrhoea around Woolmer suggest he struggled with an attacker. Unconfirmed reports say he had marks around his neck. But there is no concrete corroborative evidence for strangulation

Poisoned? Vomit and blood around Woolmer suggest poisoning by arsenic trioxide or strychnine. The body had turned blue, police said.

Speaking off the record, others in the police department said they had to ‘shift gears’ after finding what they had. ‘Not that we are saying Woolmer was murdered, but going by what our experts have revealed, we are starting to look at it from a new perspective,’ an officer said.

Room 375 at Hotel Pegasus has been sealed since Woolmer was found in the bathroom on Sunday. But all sorts of theories including poison mixed with drinks, stories of strangulation marks on the throat and evidence of struggle in the bathroom have been doing the rounds.

‘I spoke to a lab employee who had a chat with the director last night about the samples collected from Woolmer’s bathroom. He said there was something fishy indeed,’ said a staff at the forensic laboratory.

‘We are shaken by what we have heard,’ said media manager Pervez Mir. Mir and manager Talat Ali will stay back till the issue is resolved.

‘Difficult to guess what exactly is going through their mind, but it must not be pleasant,’ said veteran Pakistani journalist Abdul Majid Bhatti.

The locals too were talking about nothing but Woolmer’s death. ‘It’s ugly,’ said Victor Taylor, a taxi driver and cricket fan.

Officials said Woolmer’s widow had been informed over telephone about the developments and that his body would be flown to Cape Town via London after investigations were over.

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