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Cops: Pakistan Cricket Coach Was Murdered

Pakistan's cricket coach Bob Woolmer was murdered in his hotel room after the team's shocking World Cup loss to Ireland, Jamaican police said Thursday.

"The official report from the pathologist states that Mr. Woolmer's death was due to asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation. In these circumstances, the matter of Mr. Woolmer's death is now being treated by the Jamaican police as murder," Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas said in a statement that was read by a police spokesman at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel — where Woolmer was killed on Sunday.

"There is an ongoing murder investigation into the death of Robert Woolmer and as a result the security arrangements at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel are a part of those investigations," Ellington said in a statement also read by a police spokesman. He declined to elaborate.

Pakistan cricketers were finger printed and interviewed on Thursday by police investigating the death of Woolmer after a shocking World Cup loss to Ireland on the weekend. The team later left for the northern resort of Montego Bay, from where they were scheduled to fly home on Saturday.

No arrests have been made and there are no suspects in the case.

"It is our belief that those associated with or having access with Mr. Woolmer may have vital information to assist this inquiry," Thomas said.

It was not clear if the team would be asked to remain in Jamaica pending the investigation, but Mark Shields, a deputy police commissioner at the press conference, said the players have pledged full cooperation whether they are in the Caribbean island or back home in Pakistan.

Lord Paul Congdon, head of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit, will investigate if corruption played a role in Woolmer's death, ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said.

Former Pakistani player Sarfraz Nawaz on Tuesday said that he believed Woolmer was killed by gambling interests, although he had no proof.

The Jamaican police have also been in contact with the ICC anti-corruption unit, said police spokesman Karl Angell.

Earlier Thursday, Assistant Police Commissioner Les Green, formerly of Scotland Yard, said the team was fingerprinted as part of standard procedure "to eliminate persons from fingerprints which would be found in the room."

"After a thorough investigation, fingerprints not belonging to Mr. Woolmer were found in the room," he told The Associated Press.

Woolmer, 58, was pronounced dead later Sunday in hospital after being found unconscious by cleaning staff.

Gill Woolmer had not ruled out that her husband was murdered.

"I mean some of the cricketing fraternity, fans are extremely volatile and passionate about the game and what happens in the game, and also a lot of it in Asia, so I suppose there is always the possibility that it could be that (murder)," she told Britain's Sky Sports earlier Thursday in an interview from her home in Cape Town, South Africa.

"It fills me with horror," she said. "I just can't 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."

The Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, citing an unnamed high-ranking police officer, reported that authorities found a bone broken in Woolmer's neck. The Jamaica Observer newspaper, citing unnamed sources, reported that Woolmer's body had marks on the throat and that bones in the lower part of his face were broken.

When Shields was asked about the condition of the body, he declined to comment.

"There are some issues surrounding marks on his body, but for the moment I would rather we stick to the cause of death, which is asphyxia," he said.

Britain's Scotland Yard has offered its help, but Jamaican authorities have yet to make a decision on that proposal.

On Wednesday, a forensics team spent hours combing Woolmer's room on the 12th floor and reviewing security cameras from the hotel in Kingston.

Inzamam-ul-Haq announced his resignation as Pakistan captain and retirement from one-day cricket following Woolmer's death and the national selection panel also resigned following the team's losses to the West Indies and Ireland.

The Pakistani team rallied around Inzamam on Wednesday to ensure his last match was a proper tribute for Woolmer and not another debacle.

"We dedicate this game to Bob because he was a wonderful person," Inzamam said. "He's not in this world now and every Pakistani and every cricket lover is sad."

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