Pakistan urge speedy completion of Woolmer probe

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 30, 2007 – The Pakistan Cricket Board Thursday called on Jamaican authorities to complete the probe into the murder of coach Bob Woolmer as quickly as possible following reports that it may take months to resolve the mystery.

“The PCB is perturbed to know that the ongoing investigations regarding Bob Woolmers death in Jamaica will take several months as stated by the Jamaican authorities,” the board’s chairman Nasim Ashraf said.

Woolmer was found strangled in his room at the Pegasus Hotel on March 18, one day after Pakistan were dramatically dumped out of the World Cup in a shock defeat to minnows Ireland.

The killing has sparked one of the most complex murder investigations in Jamaican history and has triggered speculation about possible links to match-fixing and illegal betting in cricket.

Around 50 officers are now attempting to track down hundreds of potential witnesses who were either visiting or staying at the Pegasus Hotel in the days leading up to Woolmer’s death
Jamaica deputy police commissioner Mark Shields on Tuesday warned that the murder investigation was not going to be solved “in 45 minutes,” describing the inquiry as a slow, arduous process.

“We are going to do it properly, thoroughly and professionally and at the end of it, it may be that we might identify a suspect,” said Shields.

“It really is down to the painstaking work of trying to sift through as much information as we can to try and track down the killer or killers.”

Ashraf said the Pakistan Cricket Board, through the Pakistani foreign office, had requested Jamaican authorities “to allow a senior official to join the investigative team” in Jamaica.

A Washington-based senior Pakistani diplomat will remain in Jamaica “to closely monitor the situation and provide the update to the board on (a) daily basis,” he said in a statement.

And a PCB official, Asad Mustafa, would stay in Jamaica until the ongoing investigation ended, the statement added.

The PCB is also in contact with Woolmer’s wife and “all possible support is being provided to Woolmers family,” it said. (©AFP)