Fight over key triggered Guildford's rampage

By NZ HERALD

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 Zac Guildford last night  broke his silence to apologise for his drunken rampage in Rarotonga amid revelations he spent a night in a prison cell after earlier escaping from police officers.

Herald inquiries have uncovered the full extent of the All Black's bizarre and violent behaviour, and how it was triggered by a scooter key.<inline type="poll" id="3858" align="outside"/>

``I am truly sorry for what I did,'' the 22-year-old said in a statement, as he remained holed up and in bed in a five-star Cook Islands resort.

He is being helped by All Black coach Wayne Smith and team psychologist Gilbert Enoka, who are in the Cooks capital with their families.

Guildford was said to be too fragile to speak to the Herald but said in the statement: ``I have no clear recollection of the events of that night, but there is no doubt that my behaviour was unacceptable and I am hugely embarrassed by what happened.''

Guildford apologised to those he offended on Friday night (NZT), the patrons and staff who witnessed his behaviour, and the Cook Islands people.

``I also want to apologise to my family for the embarrassment my actions have caused.

``I don't want any sympathy for the situation I have ended up in, but I am thankful for the support I have received so far from so many people.

``It's obvious that I need help and I want to get home and to get that help as soon as I can. I need to sort myself out.''

The trouble started on Friday when police were called after complaints that Guildford was fighting with a friend about who had lost the key to their scooter.

Guildford flew to the Cook Islands on Wednesday, almost a week before a friend's wedding and two days before the bride and groom.

Acting Police Commissioner Aka Matapo told the Herald police received calls on Friday about two people arguing and fighting on the side of the road.

``Apparently they had lost the key to their motorcycle so both of them were brought to the station for questioning,'' Mr Matapo said.

``While the driver was being questioned, the passenger wandered off from police.''

The passenger was Guildford _ and a member of the public later called police to say a naked man was walking along the road.

Officers were sent to look for him.

``It was at Trader Jacks [bar] he was found, fully naked, with a cut on his face,'' said Mr Matapo.

At the bar, the naked and bleeding Guildford struck two men, one of them Australian Nick Cox, who was celebrating his 60th birthday.

He jumped on to the bar's stage _ and finally seemed to realise he was wearing no clothes.

Restaurant staff wrapped an apron around his waist as he fled to the kitchen.

He was reportedly ushered away by a group of five women before police caught up with him again.

Mt Matapo said officers tried to take Guildford to hospital, but had to handcuff him after he became unruly and escaped, swimming through a lagoon before being caught again.

``On the way [to the hospital] there was a bit of a struggle with the two police officers and we eventually had to detain him.''

After being treated in hospital, Guildford was taken in handcuffs to the police station and  locked in a grimy cell, which has

a single bed and a toilet and obscenities scratched on the walls.

Mr Matapo said Guildford's detention was necessary to prevent any further breaches of the peace ``and injuries to himself or members of the public''.

When he was released the next morning, he told officers he was sorry.

``He was very apologetic, very remorseful for his actions.''

Mr Matapo said no charges were laid because police felt it wouldn't have been in the public interest or Guildford's for that to happen _ although the decision was made before police learned about the assaults.

``At the time we weren't aware of an assault. If a complaint had been lodged, maybe we would have taken the matter from another angle.''

No complaints have been laid.

Mr Enoka said yesterday Guildford was still recovering  and was yet to decide whether he could attend today's wedding of his friend, Hawkes Bay rugby player Jarred McCarthy.

Fellow All Black Israel Dagg is also a guest.

``[Guildford] has been in bed since the incident, just to allow some wounds to heal,'' said Mr Enoka.

He said it was clear Guildford had a drinking problem - and the player knew it too.

``It's been well documented that he's hit rock bottom and he's hurting. He's been in an environment where he's had support structures in place that have assisted him. Obviously outside that environment they haven't given him the support he has needed.

``The key thing from our point of view is that we know he has a problem _ the drink has caused him to do behaviour he's not proud of.''

Mr Enoka said he hadn't discussed what caused Guildford to drink so heavily.

``Our conversations have been around that his personal safety is right and he is fit and stable.''

He believed Guildford's troubles couldn't be blamed solely on his father's sudden death three years ago, but were more likely to be from a range of things that would be explored when he was back in New Zealand.

Mr Enoka believed Guildford could continue to be an All Black but had challenges to overcome.

``He's going to do some serious work to push through and if he does that right, he'll realise the wonderful potential he has as a person and as a rugby player.''additional reporting: Michael Dickison

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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