A CABBIE died of a heart attack after swigging from a bottle of rum given to him as a gift - unaware it contained pure liquid cocaine.
It was used to smuggle the drug to Britain but a bizarre chain of events led to Lascell Malcolm, 63, adding a drop to his Guinness, a court heard yesterday.
Prosecutors said it was one of five Bounty rum bottles - containing more than 250g of coke - given to unsuspecting mules flying from St Lucia to the UK last May by drug baron Martin Newman, 49.
Newman asked Martin Lawrence to carry two, saying he was over his baggage limit.
He agreed to give them back in arrivals in Britain.
After landing, Newman was delayed by a baggage search.
Customs officers found he had $6,000 (£4,000) in cash but let him go. Meanwhile Mr Lawrence couldn't wait as he had to catch a flight to his Swiss home. He gave a bottle to friend Antoinette Corlis.
She was picked up by pal Lascell. The minicab driver refused payment so she gave him the 'rum'. The dad of two died the next day. His nephew and a chum visited his house in Haringey, North London, to pay their respects and had a tot of rum as a toast.
They noticed it tasted bad - and were rushed to hospital. Both survived. Prosecutor Oli-ver Glasgow told South London's Croydon Crown Court: "A spoonful could kill anyone."
Cops traced the other bottles in the £100,000 haul. Newman denies manslaughter and imp-orting drugs. Case continues.
By ALEX WEST
April 8, 2010
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