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Charlie Sheen 'held four-inch blade' to wife's neck during row

Emergency call recorded moments of terror at climax of five-hour argument

Charlie Sheen's wife told police that he pinned her to their bed, held a knife to her throat, and threatened either to kill her or have a hitman do the job for him, during the domestic dispute that saw the actor thrown into jail on Christmas Day.

An arrest warrant affidavit from officers who were called to the couple's holiday home reveals that Brooke Mueller had been arguing with her husband for five hours when she called emergency services in the Colorado ski resort of Aspen, at 8.35am.

At one point during the row, shortly after she told Mr Sheen that she wanted a divorce, he allegedly straddled her, pressed a four-inch switchblade to her neck, and shouted,"You'd better be in fear!" The Hollywood star added, "If you tell anybody, I'll kill you," according to the affidavit. "Your mother's money means nothing [to me]... I have ex-police that I can hire who know how to get the job done, and they won't leave any trace."

A three-minute audio recording of Ms Mueller's 911 call suggests that she feared for her life. "My husband had me [inaudible] with um, with a knife, I'm scared for my life, and he threatened me," she said. "I thought I was going to die for one hour."

When police officers arrived, they discovered a knife with a four-inch blade lying open in Mr Sheen's travel bag, in the hall outside the couple's bedroom. Ms Mueller "had red marks on the upper part of the front of her neck," reads the affidavit. She claimed that Mr Sheen "caused the marks while he was holding her down on the bed".

Mr Sheen was arrested under his real name, Carlos Irwin Estévez, and later released on $8,500 [£5,340] bail. The star of Platoon, Wall Street and Hot Shots! has plenty to lose from the scandal: he is the highest-paid actor on US television, thanks to his successful sitcom Two and a Half Men.

Prior to this incident, he was widely presumed to have overcome personal troubles that saw him in and out of drug clinics for much of the 1990s. Also in the past was a messy divorce from his second wife, Denise Richards, who repeatedly accused him of abuse.

Mr Sheen is now due in court on 8 February, and may face charges of second-degree assault. Since there is a domestic-violence component in the case, his previous conviction, in 1996, of knocking girlfriend Brittany Ashland to the floor and leaving her unconscious (for which he got 300 hours of community service) will raise the stakes.

The affidavit reveals that Mr Sheen told his arresting officers that he'd had a "predominately [sic] verbal" argument with Ms Mueller, who "abuses alcohol" and is "jealous" of his relationship with his daughter from a previous marriage. He denied using a knife, strangling, and "pushing or shoving" his wife, but admitted breaking two of her pairs of sunglasses. "The argument was predominately verbal," reads an account of what he told police. "He and Mueller slapped each other on the arms during the course of the verbal altercation."

Ms Mueller, the mother of Mr Sheen's young twins, had been married to him for 18 months. She has declined police requests to give follow-up interviews about the incident. Tests at the scene showed that she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13, well above the legal level for driving.

Mr Sheen has yet to comment. His spokesman, Stan Rosenfield, has somewhat optimistically cautioned reporters: "Don't be misled by appearances. Appearances and reality can be as different as night and day. It would benefit everyone not to jump to any conclusions."