Richard Gillis, Irish Times
So Bob Woolmer was not murdered after all. The Metropolitan Police's own investigators believe the Pakistan coach died of natural causes. The question now is how could this happen? How can the Jamaican police have got it so wrong?
Incompetence is one obvious reason: the reputation of Mark Shields, the deputy police commissioner, is in shreds.
He certainly has a case to answer. He was too fond of the camera, too willing to pander to the media: what on earth was he doing showing a Panorama reporter around the murder scene in the middle of the investigation?
But there are other culprits. Shields was a man under intense pressure to get a result. Much of this pressure came from the media, the same one that will slaughter him now. Most of the stories we have read over the past twelve weeks have been figments of journalist's imagination, prompted by mischievous or ill informed sources.
The drugged lasagne, the snake venom, the dodgy champagne, the rows on the bus; The lobby of the Pegasus Hotel was full of reporters needing to write something. For example, one journalist sidled up to me and said the ICC had found traces of performance related drugs in the tests taken from the Ireland team. I told Matt Dwyer, the Ireland assistant coach to expect questions. He was amazed, and a bit amused - the Ireland team hadn't even been tested. The absence of facts and the pressure of the 24 hour news cycle led to rumour, gossip and innuendo running on front and back pages.
Unnamed sources within the Jamaican police and at Kingston hospital were quoted liberally. Jamaica TV announced it was murder on the Tuesday. The rest of the world followed.
The Pakistan team didn't cover themselves with glory either. Hours after he died, Inzy was in front of the cameras, making a show of his resignation as captain. Nobody cared, it was tasteless and tacky. PJ Mir, the team's media manager, was quoted in the papers yesterday: "The Jamaican police have botched up the entire issue," he said. "I always felt Bob died of natural causes."
He wasn't saying that on the evening after Woolmer died. He told everyone who would listen that it was murder, shouting across a half empty bar at journalists: 'Why don't you write the truth!'
The most important thing to come out of last weekend's news is that Gill Woolmer can get on with the task of mourning her husband. She has had to refute the idea that first her husband had committed suicide. She has been asked if Bob had enemies, if he was ‘in with the match fixers'. Imagine dealing with those questions after a loved one has died suddenly and on their own on the other side of the world.
With no murder, the need for a motive evaporates and the cloud over the Ireland Pakistan game on St Patrick's Day can be at last lifted.
I remember well the shock and disappointment on the face of Adrian Birrell when it was first suggested to him that the game was fixed. He knew in that instant the heroics of his side would be forever sullied, any discussion of the game met with knowing winks.
But anyone at that game knew Ireland had won it legitimately. On a green pitch, so many of the Pakistan wickets were caught behind or in the slips. You have to be a very good player to get a thin edge on purpose. Far easier to be caught slogging, or run out.
But most telling was the ferocity with which the Pakistan bowlers came at Ireland. Niall O'Brien's 72, in a match where no other player on either side scored 30, was one of the innings of the tournament. He was bounced, intimidated and sledged, but came out on top. Because of the slurs, he and the rest of the team have never been given full credit. Hopefully this will change.