AC/DC's Phil Rudd pleads guilty to threatening to kill
Phil Rudd, drummer in AC/DC, has pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs.
The court in the North Island city of Tauranga heard that Rudd (60) became angry in August last year after his solo album 'Head Job' flopped in the charts, and as a result he fired a number of employees.
On September 25, he telephoned an associate holidaying in Australia, saying he wanted the person to "take out" one of the people he had sacked, a former security guard turned personal assistant.
In a later call, he offered the associate NZ$200,000 (€143,000), a motorbike, and one of his cars or a house, which the associate took to mean as payment for carrying out Rudd's earlier request, the court heard.
The following day, Rudd called the victim and threatened: "I'm going to come over and kill you, you f****** c***."
After another call from Rudd, the victim was "genuinely very fearful for his safety," the court was told.
In the dock yesterday, Rudd changed his earlier plea and admitted one charge of threatening to kill.
A second similar charge was withdrawn by police. He also pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and cannabis. The drugs were found after police raided Rudd's million-dollar seafront house in Tauranga.
Rudd faces up to seven years in jail for the threat charge, six months for possession of methamphetamine, and three months for possession of cannabis. Judge Robert Wolff did not enter a conviction after Rudd's guilty pleas, and adjourned the case until June 26.
Craig Tuck, Rudd's lawyer, said he would be applying for a discharge without conviction at that hearing.
The veteran rocker appeared in court wearing jeans, a black suit jacket and red tie, after arriving in a Mercedes sports car.
He stood quietly in the dock throughout, speaking only to enter his guilty pleas.
After the hearing, Rudd made a quick exit from the courtroom, refusing to answer reporters' questions before being ushered into a waiting car that sped off.
Outside the court, Mr Tuck said: "This matter essentially revolved around an angry phone call. That was it."
He said that had led to a complaint to the police, and the "apparatus of the police" had then turned up at Rudd's home with a search warrant.
"They turned up at his home with nine police officers and a dog," said Mr Tuck.
Rudd was also originally charged with attempting to procure a murder, but that charge was dropped a day after it was laid when prosecutors decided they did not have enough evidence to proceed.
His position with the band now appears to be in doubt.
AC/DC played last week's Coachella music festival in California with Chris Slade replacing him as drummer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)