Pakistan cricket coach murdered: police

Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer was murdered in his hotel room, Jamaican police revealed Thursday.

Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer was murdered in his hotel room, Jamaican police revealed Thursday.

Bob Woolmer died last Sunday in hospital at age 58 after being found unconscious on the floor of his Kingston hotel room, one day after Pakistan lost to Ireland by three wickets in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Cricket World Cup.

"There is an ongoing murder investigation into the death of Robert Woolmer," police commissioner Lucius Thomas said in a in a statement read to reporters at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, where Woolmer was killed.

Reports suggested that Woolmer fell against the toilet bowl while vomiting and broke a bone in his throat before passing out.

But an autopsy confirmed that he was strangled.

"The pathologist [report] states that Mr. Woolmer's death was due to asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation," Thomas said.

"There are some issues surrounding marks on his body," said deputy commissioner Mark Shields. "But for the moment, I'd rather we stick to the cause of death, which is asphyxia.

"Because Bob was a large man, it would've taken some significant force to subdue him but, of course, at this stage, we do not know how many people were in the room at the time. It could be one or more people involved in this murder."

Investigators fingerprinted and interviewed Pakistani cricketers before the team travelled north to Montego Bay, where it has scheduled a flight for Lahore, Pakistan, via London, on Saturday.

"Those associated with, or having access with, Mr. Woolmer may have vital information to assist this inquiry," Thomas said in explaining why team members were questioned.

"The impression is being given that the Pakistan team are suspects," Pakistani manager Talat Ali said. "This is not true."

"It is not that we were singled out," noted team spokesman Pervez Jamil Mir. "It was just routine."

Pakistan team in shock

No arrest has been made, but Inzamam-ul-Haq resigned as captain and retired from one-day cricket following Pakistan's abrupt exit from the World Cup and Woolmer's death.

The national selection panel also resigned in the aftermath.

"The team is distressed," Mir said. "Everybody is absolutely in a state of shock."

Forensics experts spent hours combing Woolmer's 12th-floor room and reviewing hotel security cameras.

"After a thorough investigation, fingerprints not belonging to Mr. Woolmer were found in the room," admitted assistant police commissioner Les Green, formerly of Scotland Yard.

"It fills me with horror," Woolmer's wife, Gill, told Sky Sports News from her home in Cape Town, South Africa.

"I just cannot believe that people would behave like that or that anyone would want to harm someone who has done such a great service to international cricket."

While motive remains a mystery, Lord Paul Congdon, head of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit, plans to investigate whether gambling played a role in Woolmer's death.

"When we first learned of Bob's death, a wave of sadness washed over the whole of the cricket community," ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said. "That sadness has now been replaced with a profound sense of shock at the news that his death is being treated as murder."

Woolmer was coaching South Africa in 2000 when captain Hansie Cronje admitted to taking money from a bookmaker to fix matches and was banned for life.

Woolmer was not implicated in the scandal.

With files from the Associated Press