Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer was discovered with a fractured bone in his neck, it was claimed today.
Scotland Yard said it was ready to help Jamaican police investigate the death of the former Warwickshire coach amid fresh suggestions that he was murdered.
Ahead of the expected results of further pathologists’ tests, sources said he apparently had a fracture in a bone in his neck, which could be consistent with being strangled.
The claims emerged as Channel 4 News reported it had been told by a senior Jamaican policeman that Woolmer was murdered and had a broken neck.
The source was quoted as saying: "We’re having to be very careful to avoid looking silly, but we will soon announce that there is to be a murder investigation and there will be an appeal for witnesses."
Earlier today Woolmer’s widow Gill said she had not ruled out the possibility that he was murdered, and categorically rejected the possibility of suicide.
Woolmer, 58, was found unconscious by staff at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Sunday morning, the day after Pakistan’s shock defeat to cricketing minnows Ireland in the Cricket World Cup, and taken to hospital where he died.
While police on the island say they are treating his death as "suspicious", they have stopped short of saying he was murdered.
They have so far refused to comment on claims that there were marks on Woolmer’s neck or traces of poison in the room.
Sources pointed out that the apparent neck fracture could have been caused by a fall. It is understood Woolmer was found in the bathroom area.
Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner Paul Stephenson said Scotland Yard had not yet been asked for specific help but "stood ready to assist" if asked.
The force has a senior detective in Jamaica, liaising with the island’s authorities.
Jamaica’s deputy police commissioner Mark Shields, who announced that the death was being treated as suspicious, is a former Scotland Yard officer.
The claims follow allegations from former Pakistani fast-bowler Sarfraz Nawaz that Woolmer was murdered to stop him blowing the whistle on match-fixing.
He said: "Woolmer’s death has some connection with the match-fixing mafia. I’ve been saying this for the last four days that Woolmer’s death is not natural, but it’s a murder."
Widow Gill Woolmer spoke today about the suggestion that her husband was murdered.
"I suppose there is always the possibility. 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."
She added: "It fills me with horror. I just can’t believe that people could behave like that or that anyone would want to harm someone who has done such a great service to international cricket."
She said he had been very down after the Irish defeat but categorically ruled out suicide.
Mrs Woolmer said she had been given "some indication" of why police thought her husband’s death was suspicious but did not reveal what it was.
"The second pathologist’s test should be available and as soon as we get that, the investigation will be winding down and they will be able to send his body back to South Africa," she said.