Nightwish frontman TUOMAS HOLOPAINEN stands by his decision to sack the band's singer TARJA TURUNEN - but admits it was on the hardest things he's ever done.

The Finnish band dispensed with Turunen's services by letter in October (04), accusing her of "greed, underestimating the fans, and breaking promises".

Holopainen says, "It is all very stressful. It was the most difficult thing I ever had to do but it is a mixture of pain, hope and relief. I also believe that time will heal all wounds.

"My conscience is clear and I have no doubts about whether we acted correctly."

Holopainen is also stunned by Turunen's claims the sacking came as a surprise - insisting it had been on the cards for some time.

He adds, "I was surprised that she sounded shocked. I don't know how blind and deaf she must have been over the last year."