Cricket: Woolmer was poisoned and strangled - Pathologist

By Horace Helps

KINGSTON - The pathologist who performed a controversial autopsy on former Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer said on Thursday that the Englishman was poisoned and then strangled.

Dr. Ere Shesiah, chief consultant pathologist of the Jamaican government, told an inquest that Woolmer "died of asphyxia due to manual strangulation associated with Cypermethrinide poisoning".

Cypermethrin is a pesticide used frequently in countries including the United Kingdom, China, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, said Shesiah, who had never before publicly linked Woolmer's death to poisoning.

Woolmer, 58, was found unconscious in his Kingston hotel room on March 18, a day after Pakistan were knocked out of the cricket World Cup following an upset loss to Ireland. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly after.

Police started a murder investigation days later after it was revealed that the autopsy, which investigators said was inconclusive at first, found that he died of manual strangulation.

That investigation ended on June 12 when Jamaica's police commissioner said the constabulary would accept the opinion of three independent pathologists that Woolmer had died of natural causes, possibly a heart attack.

Shesiah, an Indian national who has made Jamaica his home for more than 15 years, said that he never told police that the autopsy was inconclusive.

"At no time did I use the word inconclusive in any of my deliberations with the police," Shesiah said under cross examination by Jamaica's director of public prosecutions Kent Pantry.

"I told the police at the time that the autopsy was pending. I also never used the word suspicious, which the police used early in their investigations," Shesiah said.

Shesiah said that when the murder investigation was called off on June 12 he had still not received the toxicology report.

"I received a faxed copy of the toxicology report on June 21, and the report concluded that a poisonous toxin was found in Mr Woolmer's stomach," Shesiah said.

"I stand by my findings that Mr Woolmer was strangled and, based upon additional information which I received, he was also poisoned," Shesiah said.

Shesiah's technique has been criticised by international pathologists who have testified at the inquest but he remained defiant, saying he had applied the correct methods in carrying out the post mortem.

Shesiah, who suffered a stroke three weeks ago, will be in the witness box again on Friday as the inquest led by coroner Patrick Murphy enters its eighth day.

- REUTERS

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