The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Passenger Poisons Taxi Driver in Bid to Steal Car

A normal day in the office nearly ended in disaster for a Marondera taxi driver when his passenger attempted to kill him using a drink laced with rat poison.

Petros Gukwe (24) of Ashly Village in Shamva, was last Wednesday slapped with a six-year prison sentence by Marondera magistrate, Mavis Kudumba, after he pleaded guilty to attempted murder as defined in Section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9;23. Two years of the sentence were suspended for four years.

Prosecutor Mrs Angeline Sithole told the court that at around 5pm on November 4, Gukwe hired Phillip Paradzai Chinhire to drive him to the Bridge Road turn-off near Watershed College.

After agreeing on the payment, Gukwe is said to have gone away for some minutes only to come back with two 500ml bottles of orange drink which he asked Chinhire to store in the car. He went away for the second time and when he came back after 30minutes, he gave Chinhire one of the drinks and told him to proceed with the journey.

Sensing danger the suspicious Chinhire drove to Marondera CID where he reported his concerns prompting the detectives to question Gukwe. While police were questioning him, the taxi driver took a sip of the orange drink but realised that it had a bitter taste forcing him to alert the police.

Some black granules of the highly lethal rodent poison were discovered on the bottom of the drink. Upon being questioned, Gukwe admitted that he had laced the taxi driver's drink with rat poison.

Chinhire was treated at Marondera Provincial Hospital. Queried why he wanted to kill the taxi driver, Gukwe said he intended to rob him of his vehicle.

Passing sentence, the magistrate noted that this was a serious offence that could have resulted in loss of life had it not been for Chinhire's suspicions.

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