BBC to reveal tonight that Woolmer was poisoned

LONDON, England, April 30, 2007 – The BBC will reveal in a television programme Monday night that former Pakistan cricket coach, Bob Woolmer, was poisoned and then strangled.

The corporation’s premier investigative programme Panorama scheduled to be aired at 8:30 pm British time on the BBC World Service (3:30 pm Eastern Caribbean Time, 4:30 pm in Jamaica and Guyana) will say that as a result of the toxicology tests it now seems certain the ex-England player was rendered helpless before being strangled.

“Those tests will show there was a drug in his system that would have incapacitated Mr Woolmer,” Panorama’s Adam Parsons says. “It now seems certain that as he was being strangled, he’d already been rendered helpless – leaving him unable to fight back. The specific details of that poison are now very likely to offer a significant lead to finding his murderer.”

The policeman leading the murder investigation, Deputy Commissioner Mark Shields, told Panorama that it is “difficult and it’s rare” for one man to strangle another.

“A lot of force would be need to do that. Bob Woolmer was a large man and that’s why one could argue that it was an extremely strong person or maybe more than one person. But equally the lack of external injuries suggests that there might be some other factors and that’s what we’re looking into at the moment.”

Previous reports suggested that an ancient drug named aconite found in a plant indigenous to the Alps and Pyrenees and other mountainous areas in the Northern hemisphere. (See story Woolmer poisoned by “Harry Potter” drug?)

Woolmer was found unconscious in his room at the Pegasus Hotel in the Jamaican capital, Kingston, March 18 just before 11 am and rushed to hospital where he died. His remains were released last Thursday and flown to Johannesburg. They arrived Sunday.

His funeral will be conducted in a private ceremony.