BBC: Woolmer was poisoned, strangled

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Bob Woolmer
Bob Woolmer

Andrew Culf

Details likely to offer significant lead

London:Pakistan's cricket coach Bob Woolmer was poisoned before being strangled, according to preliminary toxicology tests, an investigation by the BBC's Panorama current affairs programme said on Monday.

Details of the poison used to subdue Woolmer are likely to offer a significant lead to finding his murderer, it said. The drug would have left him incapacitated, which could explain how his assailant managed to overwhelm Woolmer, who was 1.88m and heavily built. The programme includes the last recorded image of Woolmer, taken after Pakistan's shock defeat at the hands of minnows Ireland on March 17.

A blurred recording from a CCTV camera at the Pegasus Hotel shows the coach heading back to his room, where his body was found the following morning.

The programme discloses that P.J. Mir, the team's former media manager, fled Pakistan after claiming that a fatwa was issued against him and believes that Woolmer could have faced a similar plight from Pakistani fans.

Speculation about Woolmer's death included claims that he had uncovered a match-fixing scandal, or that he was the victim of a supporter with a grudge.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2007

PTI reports from Karachi:

The ``last'' CCTV footage of Woolmer aired by BBC shows him with two Pakistani journalists one of whom said the video was of March 16, two days before the coach was found dead.

The persons shown in the footage in the hotel in Kingston are journalists Majid Bhatti, senior cricket correspondent of the Jung group of newspapers, and Ehsan Qureshi of state-owned news agency APP.

Mr. Bhatti told PTI: ``I started getting calls from everywhere and I was surprised to learn about the footage. But it was from March 16, one day before the match against Ireland and we were speaking to Woolmer as we returned from a party for the Irish team.''

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