POSTED BY Boria Majumdar ON Apr 26, 2007 AT 23:50 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 26, 2007 23:50 IST
With the world cup coming to an end, the action will once again shift to the lasting legacy of this tournament, the tragic murder of Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer. With numerous rumors doing the rounds across the world, the investigation is, as Karl Angell, Chief of the Jamaican Constabulary Force, suggests, “one of the most high profile cases ever to be investigated by the Jamaican police.” Terming the speculations “unhelpful for the investigation and distressing for the family of Bob Woolmer”, Chief Investigating Officer Mark Shields said at a press conference at the Police Officers Club in Kingston that “snake venom can be ruled out as the potential cause of death”. Not very long ago was it reported in the South African press that snake venom might have been used to poison Bob Woolmer.

In an otherwise routine press briefing, Mr. Shields also said that he was planning to travel to South Africa shortly to meet with the family of Bob Woolmer. “It is time I travel to South Africa to meet with Gill Woolmer and answer the questions that she and the family might have for us.” In the course of this visit, Shields is also likely to meet members of the South African police to give them an update on the investigation.

[Shields (middle) with Mir Zubair Mahmood, DIG Pak police, left, and Syed Khalid Imam, SSP, Pak police at the Police Officers Club, Kingston]

Members of the Pakistani police, Mir Zubair Mahmood, Deputy Inspector General based in Karachi and Syed Khalid Imam, Special Superintendent of Police, who were here in Jamaica for nearly three weeks also left for Pakistan today. Addressing the media, Mahmood said, “It has been a privilege and honour to work with a bunch of professional police officers of the Jamaica police and as a professional police officer myself I am 100% satisfied with the way the investigation is being conducted.” When asked if there was a chance that Pakistani players might be summoned back to Jamaica, Mahmood said, “No one has been summoned so far. If they are, Pakistani police and government will make them available as and when they are required.” He also declared that the coroner’s inquest into the murder of Bob Woolmer has been postponed indefinitely.

Mahmood was forthright in saying that no part of the investigation was being conducted in Pakistan and that he had full faith in the abilities of the Jamaican police, especially DCP Shields. Asked if he had provided any specific information on match fixing to Shields and his team, Mahmood said such information, if sought for, was to be provided by the ICC Anti Corruption Unit.

Dismissing reports published in the British press that the police have now identified one suspect based on the CCTV footage, Shields reiterated that the cameras in the Pegasus hotel here in Jamaica are by the elevators and there was no way one could identify someone entering or leaving the room from the CCTV footage obtained. However, he reiterated that most of the work with the CCTV footage is now complete and “it is now to be seen if the exclusive array of photos assist with the investigation.” He also said that Room 374 on the 12th floor of the Pegasus hotel was still under seizure and was not open for commercial use. Karl Angell, his colleague, mentioned that the mother CCTV tape was still in Jamaica while a copy had been sent across to the UK for processing. When asked if the positioning of cameras was a major hindrance for the investigation, Shields declared, “At least we have the CCTV footage in this case. It may well have been that there was no such facility.”

Terming the case as a unique and complex one, Shields revealed that the Jamaica police are now in possession of hundreds of statements from witnesses, men and women who were staying at the Pegasus hotel when the murder was committed. Police officers had been dispatched to Grenada and Barbados to collate these statements, which are now being reviewed. The primary objective of the investigation now is to zoom in on the cause of death and ascertain how the last moments of Bob Woolmer’s life was spent. Shields finished of saying that every effort was being made to maintain transparency and another update would be provided in due course.
POSTED BY Boria Majumdar ON Apr 26, 2007 AT 23:50 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 26, 2007 23:50 IST
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