Im off to do some hunting tomorrow, Eruera Te Rongapatahi told friends as he prepared to leave their house late in the evening on Sunday, May 31st, 1953. Thinking he was a bit drunk, they ordered a taxi for him, which turned up at midnight.
Shouldering his hunting rifle, the 23-year-old New Zealander got into the cab and gave the driver, James Henderson, 28, continuously conflicting instructions. When Mr. Henderson decided he had had enough and asked for the fare, Rongapatahi, who didnt have any money on him anyway, shot him dead and went on the run.
He was finally caught three months later and sentenced to death for the murder after a three-day trial. The defence claimed the prisoner was so drunk he should only be convicted of manslaughter, but the prosecution argued that he wasnt so drunk as all that because he fired three times at the hapless taxi driver. Rongapatahi was found guilty of murder and hanged on Monday, September 14th, 1953, in Auckland Prison.