19 Feb 2010

Killers of Christchurch taxi driver plead guilty

8:23 pm on 19 February 2010

Two men have pleaded guilty to killing a taxi driver in Christchurch in December 2008.

Shannon Boyes-Warren, 17, and Randell Brown, 20, were passengers in a taxi driven by Abdulrahman Ikhtiari after a night drinking in the city.

Mr Ikhtiari was later found beside his taxi. He had been stabbed to death.

Boyes-Warren and Brown were due to go to trial on Monday but changed their pleas to guilty on Friday when they appeared in the High Court in Christchurch.

The court heard that Boyes-Waren inflicted the fatal stab wound through Mr Ikhtiari's heart while Brown pinned him down.

The then continued a drinking spree at city bars until 3am, when they took another taxi home.

They tried to rob the second taxi driver, with Boyes-Warren hitting him in the face before running off.

Boyes-Warren has pleaded guilty to murder and Brown pleaded guilty to manslaughter. They will be sentenced in March.

Mandatory safety measures

The killing of Mr Ikhtiari prompted calls from the Taxi Federation for mandatory safety measures in taxis.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce has now agreed that taxis should be made safer by law and is waiting for a report from the Transport Agency before deciding what those exact measures will be.

The federation's requests were bolstered by the killing of another driver, Hiren Mohini, in Auckland last month.