Judas Priest's former drummer DAVE HOLLAND has slammed accusations he raped a special needs teenager during a drum lesson.

The 55-year-old British rocker denies one charge of attempted rape and five counts of indecently assaulting the young man, telling NORTHAMPTON CROWN COURT in England yesterday (19JAN04) he had formed a friendship with the 18-year-old, but had never made sexual advances towards him.

Holland's co-accused, SPIROS LAOUITARIS, 22, also of Northampton, denies four charges of indecent assault.

The drummer told the court how he'd allowed the teenager to drink and smoke at his house and watch videos, but insists he never showed him his collection of pornographic films.

Holland admitted he had spoken openly about his bisexual background to the man but denied having any untoward motives for befriending him. The accuser claims Holland asked him to shower and then forced him to take part in a sexual act

He told the court, "He was aware that I am bisexual. I believed that he was of the same persuasion as myself. He was very fond of me, the same as I was of him.

"He would even tell me I was his best friend. He would tell me that he loved me. It wasn't a sexual thing, it was affection. There might have been the odd hug or something like that.

"I know it is politically incorrect nowadays but kids like to be shown a bit of affection."

The prosecution claim the alleged abuse was revealed in a letter written by the teenager to his parents on 14 December 2002.

Holland joined Judas Priest in 1980 before leaving the SOME HEADS ARE GONNA ROLL outfit a decade later, in 1990.

20/01/2004 17:26