The Woolmer tragedy revisited

The Gleaner newspaper dated 13 June 2007 carried as one of its headlines, 'It wasn't murder!' – Scotland Yard says Woolmer died of heart failure … No clear evidence to prove Woolmer was murdered … Local police sticking by their word that Woolmer died of manual strangulation …

The headline signaled the embarrassment that all of Jamaica and indeed the Caribbean must still be feeling.

As if to drive home the embarrassment the Gleaner chronicled the facts as they unfolded:

  • World number-four ranked Pakistan crashed out of the ICC Cricket World Cup after losing to minnows Ireland at Sabina Park on 17th March.
  • Bob Woolmer said he was devastated by the loss.
  • Retired to his hotel room about 7:00 pm and ordered room service between 8:00 and 9:00 pm on 17th March.
  • Found unconscious in room 374, 12th floor of the Jamaica Pegasus hotel at 10:45 am on 18th March by a chambermaid. 
  • Post-mortem conducted by Dr Ere Sheshiah, on 20th March found that the death was due to asphyxiation by manual strangulation.
  • Murder investigation launched on 22nd March.
  • Coroner's inquest announced on 23rd March. 
  • On 14th April, Jamaica Constabulary Force, JCF, said toxicology results on Mr Woolmer's tissue sample needed further analysis.
  • The coroner's inquest, which was set to start on 23rd April was postponed indefinitely, on 19th April, because of what the JCF called new evidence that had emerged.