Taxi driver died after drinking pure liquid cocaine

By buseman · Jul 20, 2010 · ·
  1. buseman
    A north London taxi driver died after unwittingly drinking pure liquid cocaine from a rum bottle given to him as a gift, a court heard.

    Lascell Malcolm, 63, from Haringey, had been handed the bottle of Bounty Rum by friend Antoinette Corlis after refusing to take payment for a lift home after she returned from a Caribbean holiday.

    She in turn had been given the bottle by a friend, Michael Lawrence, who was carrying it back to the UK from St Lucia for acquaintance Martin Newman.

    Newman, 50, of Wadeville Avenue, Romford, Essex, was the only one who knew there was 246g (8.7oz) of pure cocaine dissolved into the alcohol, and that just a teaspoon of the liquid could be fatal.

    He had given two bottles to Mr Lawrence before flying from St Lucia to Gatwick Airport, claiming his own baggage was overweight.

    It was intended that he would collect the bottles upon arrival in the UK, but Newman was detained by Customs officers.

    Mr Lawrence waited for Newman for a short while before leaving to catch a connecting flight to his home in Switzerland, giving one of the bottles to Ms Corlis.

    Mr Malcolm, a father-of-two, had drunk a shot of the rum along with a pint of Guinness, hours after Ms Corlis had given him the bottle on May 25 last year. But at 4am the next day, he called emergency services telling them he could not walk, had a headache and thought he was dying.

    He was admitted and discharged from hospital but later collapsed and died in front of his son Richard. He had suffered a heart attack brought on by cocaine poisoning.

    The link to the cocaine-laced rum emerged later that day when two friends, visiting Mr Malcolm's house to pay their respects, found the bottle and decided to make a toast.

    Both men, Charles Roach and Trevor Tugman, spat out the foul-tasting liquid but were taken to hospital after suffering seizures.

    Oliver Glasgow, prosecuting, told Croydon Crown Court that Newman, born in St Lucia, had a duty of care to anyone who came into contact with the bottles. Newman denies manslaughter and importing Class A drugs. The trial is set to last for two weeks.

    20th July 2010

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  1. kailey_elise
    Whoa, that is seriously fucked up!

    It really sucks that the guy who actually owned the bottles was detained @ Customs & couldn't get his tainted bottles back.

    What a tragedy. *sigh*

  2. constructive interference
    What a shame.

    I wonder why Mr. Malcolm was discharged from the hospital under such dire circumstances? It seems like the symptoms of a cocaine overdose (elevated heartrate/BP/body temperature) would have provided several very obvious red flags for the medical professionals who treated him. Even if the underlying cause was unknown at the time, wouldn't it have been apparent that he was in need of some form of treatment, or observation at the very least?
  3. Balzafire
    Smuggler jailed for cocaine in rum bottle death

    A drug smuggler has been jailed for 20 years for the manslaughter of a taxi driver who died after drinking pure liquid cocaine from a rum bottle.

    [imgl=white][/imgl]Lascell Malcolm, 63, was given the bottle of Bounty Rum by a friend who had no idea of its lethal contents.

    The bottle had been used to smuggle cocaine into Gatwick by Martin Newman, from Romford, Essex.

    Newman was jailed for 20 years for manslaughter and 15 years, to run concurrently, for importing cocaine.

    A jury at Croydon Crown Court took three hours to convict Newman after hearing that he tricked two other people into carrying the rum from St Lucia to the UK.

    Antoinette Corlis and her friend Michael Lawrence, met Newman as they checked in for their flight.
    Heart attack

    The pair agreed to carry two bottles of the rum after Newman claimed he had exceeded his baggage allowance.

    But on arrival at the West Sussex airport, Newman was held up by customs officials, and Mr Lawrence, who was due to catch a connecting flight to Switzerland, gave one of the bottles to Ms Corlis.

    When Mr Malcolm, a taxi driver from Haringey, north London, refused to accept payment for the journey, Ms Corlis gave him the bottle as a gift.

    The following day, Mr Malcolm died of a heart attack caused by cocaine poisoning.

    He had drunk a shot of the rum with a pint of Guinness hours after receiving it on 25 May last year.
    Drank a toast

    The court heard that Newman was the only person who knew there was 8.7oz (246g) of pure cocaine dissolved in the alcohol, and that just a teaspoon of the liquid could be fatal.

    The reason for Mr Malcolm's death did not come to light until grieving relatives drank a toast after discovering the bottle at his home.

    Oliver Glasgow, prosecuting, said Mr Malcolm's nephew, Charles Roach, and friend, Trevor Tugman, spat out the liquid but collapsed a short time later and were rushed into intensive care at Middlesex Hospital in London.

    After the case, Tony Connell of the Crown Prosecution Service said the manslaughter case was brought on the basis that Newman's actions in the Caribbean made him responsible for Mr Malcolm's death in London.
    "The defendant owed a duty of care to Mr Malcolm, a man he'd never met, and to everyone else who came into contact with the bottle," he said.

    "In dissolving so much cocaine in the rum Mr Newman had grossly breached that duty of care and caused the tragic death of an innocent man."

    11 August 2010
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