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Stabroek News

Day 20 - Match-fixing dominates proceedings
published: Wednesday | November 14, 2007

MATCH-FIXING in the cricket-mad subcontinent, one of the theories linked to the death of late Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer, dominated proceedings on the 20th day of the coroner's inquest yesterday at the Jamaica Conference Centre.

Questioned by Dirk Harrison from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mark Shields said there was no proof corruption played a part in the former England player's passing.

However, he told the court that investigators approached the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit of the ICC for assistance shortly after Woolmer was pronounced dead on March 18 at the University Hospital of the West Indies.

No match-fixing proof

"We considered it prudent to involve them at an early stage. After frequent dialogue they informed us that they had found no evidence linking the death of Mr. Woolmer with (match-fixing in) cricket," Shields, who led the local investigations, said.

He added that he was aware that the 58-year-old Woolmer was writing a book on the game at the time of his death, the manuscript for which was in Cape Town, South Africa where he lived.

Shields said he travelled to Cape Town in May where he interviewed Woolmer's wife, Gill, and their two sons. He said he also spoke to professor Tim Noakes, co-author of the proposed book.

Each said the manuscript contained nothing about match-fixing. Shields said he never saw the draft.

"I trusted the integrity of professor Noakes and the Woolmer family that Mr. Woolmer was not writing about the dirty side of cricket," he said. "I concluded that the manuscript was about the technical side of cricket."

Harrison also questioned Shields about Asad Mustafa, assistant manager of the Pakistan team and Abdul Sattar, a London-based Pakistan businessman, and their possible links to match-fixing.

Cooperated with police

Both men were staying at the Jamaica Pegasus at the time of Woolmer's death. Shields said Mustafa had cooperated with the police by giving his fingerprints, while Sattar had given them a statement.

Shields said he last spoke to Sattar in late October, requesting that he appear at the inquest, but he declined. The DCP will continue his testimony today.

Woolmer was pronounced dead one day after Pakistan were beaten by outsiders Ireland at Sabina Park in Kingston, eliminating them from the Cricket World Cup.

Government pathologist, Dr. Ere Seshaiah, testified that Woolmer died from asphyxia caused by manual strangulation associated with cypermethrin poisoning.

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