The Woolmer tragedy revisited
In their professionalism, the authorities ensured that some of the Pakistani cricketers were questioned in Jamaica, especially since there seemed to have been some speculation that Woolmer may have known his murderer since there seemed nothing in the room that suggested forced entry. The players were finger-printed and DNA tests were taken.
The international media and just about everyone else seemed to have been convinced that it was a case of murder and therefore potential suspects were being checked. Speculation was rife.
The decision was then taken by the Jamaican authorities to have some international forensic pathologists conduct a review the forensic evidence and assist in the determination of cause of death.
To the surprise of the world it was announced on 12th June 2007 that Woolmer had died of natural causes.While Woolmer’s family took the latest announcement in stride, citing that they were now content that there was closure to the affair, the international media may well have made us in the Caribbean something of a laughing stock.
The Gleaner’s report revealed the opinions of three professionals:
Dr Michael Pollanen – Chief forensic pathologist, Canada: "There is no satisfactory evidence to conclude that Mr Woolmer was strangled. Furthermore, the absence of certain specific findings is satisfactory evidence to exclude strangulation as the cause of death."
Dr Nat Cary – Consultant forensic pathologist, United Kingdom: "My opinion, based on the scene and post-mortem findings, is that it is very unlikely that the deceased died from the cause of death given, namely, "asphyxia secondary to manual strangulation.
There is of course an obvious competing alternative cause of death present in this case, namely 'ischaemic heart disease'
Anyone with a heart of this size with coronary artery occlusions and microscopic evidence of scarring in the heart muscle would have been vulnerable to development of a heart rhythm disturbance, including a potentially fatal one."