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Scotland Yard cops arrive for Bob Woolmer murder probe

Posted by Dresonic on April 2, 2007

Four Scotland Yard detectives, led by Superintendent John Sweeney, arrived in the island yesterday to assist local cops probing the murder of former Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer.

The four detectives from Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime Directorate will be briefed by Deputy Commissioner Mark Shields, who is heading local investigations into Woolmer’s March 18 murder.

Days after Woolmer’s naked body was found in room 374 on the 12th floor of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Shields had announced that overseas assistance would be sought if local police deemed it necessary.

Yesterday, he insisted that the Scotland Yard sleuths were not here because local cops were incapable of handling the probe.

“This is normal procedure, we have to start retracing our steps to see if we left anything out,” Shields said.

Shields also dismissed reports in the British media that Woolmer downed a bottle of whisky in his room on March 18 during the hours after Pakistan’s humiliating loss to Ireland and the time he was found by a housekeeper.

“I have heard that, but there was no empty whisky bottle in his room,” he said.

Test results from tissue and fluid samples taken from Woolmer’s body have not yet been received by the police, while the coroner for Kingston and St Andrew, Patrick Murphy, is expected to finish perusing a file he got from Shields last week.

The police are continuing to view Woolmer’s death as a murder despite claims that he may have died from natural causes. Last week, Shields told the Observer that the killer or killers used more than their hands to slay the former coach and cricketer.

“There was something between the hand and the neck,” said Shields. “There are good reasons why there are no marks on Bob’s neck.”

Shields, himself a Scotland Yard detective on secondment to the Jamaica Constabulary, has been under the microscope since news of the murder broke, and members of the British media have reported that the media savvy cop plans to take a vacation starting on Thursday of this week.

But a check with the police by the Observer revealed that Shields’ vacation had been approved by Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas before the Woolmer murder.
When the Observer contacted Shields, he was clearly incensed at the British media reports and declared that he would be giving up his vacation and dedicating his time to solving the Woolmer case.

“I am not going anywhere, as I think it would be inappropriate to do so at this time during such an important investigation,” Shields said.

Since news of Woolmer’s death broke, journalists from all over the world have descended on Jamaica and some have gone to great lengths to outshine their competitors.

Attempts to get photos of the hotel’s 12th floor and room 374 where Woolmer was killed have drawn the ire of the hotel management, who asked Shields to warn the media to stop harassing staff and offering money to be taken to restricted areas within the 300-room hotel.

“They are treating the media with utmost respect and as such they expect the same as it relates to media and how they conduct themselves,” Shields said.

Meanwhile, a number of foreign journalists were overheard complaining that a ‘nattily dressed’ local posing as a journalist had been shaking them down for money.

“He usually goes around asking people for money to go home, or have a soda or ‘grab my dinner’ and his dinner usually costs as much as a taxi ride across Kingston,” one foreign journalist told the Observer.

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