Phil Rudd: AC/DC drummer sentenced to eight months house detention for threats to kill and possessing drugs

Rudd had threatened to kill a former employee

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The Independent Online

The former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been sentenced to eight months in home detention yesterday for death threats and drug possession – but more painful, perhaps, was being told by a judge that the band would probably not miss him.

The wild man of rock was relieved to avoid jail after pleading guilty in a New Zealand court to threatening to kill his former bodyguard and possessing methamphetamine and marijuana.

But he was forced to listen as Judge Thomas Ingram dismissed affidavits suggesting he was “integral to the band’s sound and… an iconographical member of the band”.

The judge said: “Queen have replaced Freddy Mercury… AC/DC are still going without you.” Arrested last November in his home town of Tauranga, in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, the Australian-born Rudd initially denied the charges.

However, in April the 61-year-old admitted phoning his former bodyguard turned personal assistant and telling him: “I’m going to come over and kill you.”

The court also heard that he offered NZ$200,000 (£87,668), a motorbike and a car or house to an associate for having the ex-employee “taken out”.

His lawyer – who claimed the self-confessed methamphetamine addict was in a drug psychosis at the time – requested a discharge without conviction, arguing Rudd would otherwise be barred from touring in the US, Canada and Japan.

However, the judge said it was clear that he was not even with the band at present. And he had some career advice for the ageing rocker: if he wanted to rejoin AC/DC, he needed to go to rehab. “If anyone should understand the consequences [of drug use], it should be you,” he said.

Rudd told Australian TV in May that his former bandmates, including guitarist Angus Young, who are currently on a world tour, had not been in contact with him.

Although he will serve his sentence in his luxury waterfront mansion, he will be electronically monitored. And if any traces of drugs or alcohol are found in his system, he will go straight to jail, the judge told him.

The judge did show some sympathy for Rudd, observing: “The only ones who can truly understand a rock-star lifestyle are those who’ve lived it.”

Asked by reporters outside court how he felt about the sentence, Rudd replied: “Ecstatic, mate.”