Former Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing’s book collaborator claims to have obtained new information about former drummer Dave Holland which paints the band’s disgraced drummer in a far different light than the public had previously known.

The newly revealed purported details of Holland’s final years come 13 months after he died in Lugo, Spain, where the 69-year-old had reportedly been residing after spending several years in a British jail for attempting to rape a teenage boy. The drummer was sentenced in January 2004 of trying to assault the 17-year-old in his cottage in Northamptonshire, England, while giving him drumming lessons. The abuse was revealed in a letter written by the teenager to his parents. Holland always denied any involvement in the attempted rape of the special-needs student and was at one point said to be planning to write a tell-all biography of his life and career.

Scottish author and journalist Mark Eglinton, who co-wrote Downing‘s 2018 autobiography, Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest, says that he was given the new information by a purported friend of Holland’s who wanted to inform people of “a very sad injustice” which had been perpetrated upon someone that she claims was “a true gentleman.”

The following piece was provided to by Eglinton, who requested that it be published in its entirety.

“In the aftermath of co-writing K.K Downing’s recent book Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest, I, being more accessible than he is, was inevitably contacted by a number of people. Some wanted interviews, others wanted to pass on personal messages or to have books or other items signed. One woman’s contact was of a different nature. She had been a friend of the late, former Judas Priest drummer Dave Holland, and she had information to share regarding Dave, and the court case in which he was convicted in 2004.

It is very important to say that I personally had no opinion on Dave or Dave’s case. He was convicted; that is irrefutable fact. K.K. and I discussed him only in terms of his contribution to Judas Priest from a musical perspective, with only occasional references to his personality as far as it related to band matters (all of them positive) during his ten-year-long tenure in Judas Priest. Just like anyone else reading what follows, obviously I was neither present at the events which led to Dave’s arrest, nor was I present at the court case at which he was convicted. Furthermore, even after having been given the following information, I’m still not in a personal position to be able to offer an opinion on these matters. The fact remains that Dave Holland was convicted of an indefensible crime.

BUT… in the spirit of openness and a willingness to share information relayed to me with acquaintances of Dave, the many fans of Judas Priest. (and other bands Dave Holland was associated with) it would only seemed right to make people aware of the details of the information.

This lady, who has now been spoken to at great length, has stated the following, in no particular order:

* Dave was the victim of a story that the lady said was made up by a 17-year-old lad and his older brother. They sometimes frequented Dave’s house together and on occasion this lady’s son would do the same — to do gardening duties at weekends and summer holidays and occasionally receive drum lessons from Dave.

* The accusing 17-year-old was wrongly reported in places to have been a cripple and in a wheelchair — when actually he was a relatively healthy lad and apparently strong enough to do gardening duties and play drums, with his only disability being that he was something of a slow learner.

* Allegedly there was an attempt made by Dave to rape this lad. But there was no physical evidence in the trial, only verbal testimony.

* There was another 22-year-old male allegedly involved but the police apparently offered him a deal of both freedom and not to be on record as a criminal — if he pleaded guilty. This is what he did. This, it could be argued, was detrimental to Dave’s plea of innocence.

From what the lady also said, the judge presiding over the case was at the very least biased to put it mildly — and he threw out valuable evidence that would have been in Dave’s favor.

For example, the prosecution said that the lady’s son was also present on the day that the offense was supposed to have taken place. This, as stated by the lady, wasn’t the case as he was at a wedding with her — evidential proof of which was submitted in court. Yet, for some reason, the judge did not allow this evidence to be admissible.

Also, the accuser’s brother, who seemingly had helped to concoct the story, was on the run from the police at the time of the trial. So, his statement, according to the judge, couldn’t be read out in court either. Dave seemingly showed the lady the brother’s statement when he received a copy upon his release from prison. She said that the brother admits in the statement that the story about Dave was made up.

On top of everything else, Dave’s appointed defence council that was familiar with the defence details didn’t turn up on the day, having cried off with a cold. So, Dave had to be represented by a last minute stand-in defence lawyer who was apparently hopeless.

Dave Holland served his years in prison and when he eventually got out, one of his main intentions was to look after his dying mother — feeding and toileting her daily, according to the lady. The lady also said that Dave was brilliant with her son and her baby granddaughters and that he was a true gentleman.

Not long afterwards, Dave’s mother passed away, and so, after the funeral, Dave decided to try and start a new life for himself in Spain. After only days in Spain, Dave went to the doctor complaining of stomach pains and was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and the lungs. In less than two weeks, he passed away.

All of Dave’s family has now gone, as neither he nor his disabled sister, a sufferer of multiple sclerosis, ever married. This lady has not long lost her own husband and it is apparent that she is still very much disturbed by what happened to Dave also. It seems that she has nothing whatsoever to gain by giving her account after so many years other than to try to bring some clarity to this case by at last allowing fans — and people who knew Dave — to be aware of what she can only describe as a very sad injustice.

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  • Dana on

    Is there is any truth to this woman’s statements, this is incredibly sad, and Holland died with a scarlet letter on his arm, that he did not deserve.

    • Rattlehead on

      I agree, Dana.

      I don’t know how the justice system works in other countries, but while ours in the U.S. may not be perfect, I think it does a very good job of aggressively challenging the prosecutor’s evidence so defendants are not wrongly convicted of crimes. And I hope the best defense attorneys are hired/assigned by/to defendants to fight all the prosecutor’s evidence. Only then, after evidence is presented and challenged, do we know “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the right person was convicted of the crime.

    • Dana on

      I agree, but sadly, as of late, I have seen the media rush to judgement and convict people before doing their due diligence. While this should have no barring on our court system, I do believe it does, and can.

      It will be interesting to see what becomes of the Jussie Smollett case. If the past is any indication, I expect that other than monetary compensation, and possible public service, he will see no jail time. Why? Because he is famous, and in the American court system, that seems to provide a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. The list of celebrities whom have gotten a slap on the wrist, for crimes the average citizen would be jailed for, seems quite endless. Ditto for athletes, musicians and politicians.

  • Michael Monet on

    Holland was their drummer during their most commercially successful period. JUDAS PRIEST is enough of a household name that a story like this would generate some real interest. This article indicates that he had an appointed lawyer which implies that Holland had no money. Therefore, nobody would benefit financially from some type of shakedown of a one-time rockstar. So what would be the motivation to accuse someone of being the worst type of criminal? This is tough. These accusers would be evil and their actions would hurt actual victims going forward. Are cops and prosecutors either so incompetent or malicious to allow a travesty like this to take place? This isn’t the United States but I would consider British justice to be reasonable. “The lady” needs to give her name and go public to someone with the capabilities of revealing a true injustice. Holland was in the band when they were being accused of putting a subliminal message deliberately in one of their songs causing two young men to shoot themselves in the head. He had some familiarity with the legal system. If he is innocent of this crime, then his life and all that he stood for ended in tragedy.

    • Dana on

      Maybe it was a matter of blackmail, jealousy or vindictiveness, who knows?

    • Tyger of Pan Tang on

      I sure would appreciate a journalist looking into this and especially why the evidence was thrown out and Holland did not appeal. I just wasted several days going through that biography of Bon Scott’s final years, which rely mostly on decades-long recollections of heroin addicts, leaving the reader no more informed than before about the cause of his death.

      If presidential candidates are saying that every accusation has to be believed, except the ones that they find personally inconvenient, it’s time the process that convicts people of such crimes be made transparent.

    • Dana on


      I was specifically talking about the Jussie Smollett case, and how celebrities tend to not receive the same treatment, as regular civilians, in the court system, and otherwise. But, I tagged on athletes, musicians, and politicians, as well.

      It should be very interesting to see if Smollett is held accountable for his actions, or if, as I suspect, he will get a slap on the wrist with community service and having to pay a heft fine. Interestingly enough, it was revealed, yesterday, this was not the first time Smollett has lied to the authorities, he apparently did so back in 2007, when he was pulled over for a DUI. He has a history of telling untruths.

      D 🙂

    • Tyger of Pan Tang on

      Indeed, Dana, but you see his defenders are now saying it’s not a “lie”, it’s a “cry for help”.

    • Dana on

      Yes, the typical PR crisis mode shtick. I don’t believe it will work. His credibility is doo doo, and I do believe his “career” will be side lined for awhile. But, he will go into “therapy” and will most likely try and make a comeback, in a couple of years.

      My wish is that he will be made an example of, and serve time. However, just basing it on past celebrity gaffes (look at how many times Alec Baldwin has gotten away with his disgusting behavior), I expect minimal repercussions.

      From the minute that I heard Jussie’s story, I knew something Smolletted rotten in Chicago. 😉

  • RandyK on

    It’s sad Dave didn’t live to write his book. A friend of mine was accused of something similar with his brother’s kids. Fortunately he had a good lawyer that pointed out all the lies in his ex-sister-in-laws story as well as her past efforts to scam people for money and the case was dropped.

  • Nathan Denney on

    All we can hope for is the accuser(s) get a little karma payback if they so deserve it.

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