Johnny Depp’s security guard today revealed four photographs of the Hollywood actor with injuries after his then-wife Amber Heard allegedly attacked him, to support his sensational libel claim against a newspaper.
Depp, 57, is suing The Sun publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor at the High Court over an April 2018 article which alleged he was violent towards Heard, 34, during their tumultuous relationship.
Security guard Sean Bett, who has worked for Depp for nine years, said he took three pictures on his mobile phone of the actor in December 2015, adding: ‘Mr Depp told me that Miss Heard had slapped him in the face a few times.’
Asked in court by Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne what he could see, Mr Bett replied: ‘I could see what appears to be redness and what appears to be a 1.5 inch to 2 inch scratch and redness to the right of that scratch.’
Mr Bett also revealed a fourth photograph of an injured Depp in his witness statement released today, claiming that the injury in that picture was caused by Heard following her 30th birthday party in Los Angeles in April 2016.
But NGN’s barrister Sasha Wass QC told the court that the photograph was actually taken in March 2015 in the same city on a date when Heard had already admitted she attacked Depp in defence of her sister Whitney.
Heard has previously claimed she and Depp were having an argument when he approached Whitney on a landing between two staircases in their home in Los Angeles – and she feared he might push her, so hit him in the face.
Last week, Ms Wass claimed in court that the couple had an argument in March 2015 because Heard found out he was having an affair with a woman named Rochelle Hathaway, with Depp responding that Heard ‘was quite jealous of Rochelle and several other people, so I don’t know that she found out I was having an affair’.
It is another bombshell development in the extraordinary case ongoing in London, with the court also told today:
- Depp’s bodyguard insisted he was not lying over claims that he saw Depp being regularly attacked by Heard;
- The security guard, Sean Bett, said he regularly saw Heard throw ‘bottles, glass and other objects’ at Depp;
- Heard was ‘verbally and physically abusive’ towards Depp throughout their relationship, he also said;
- Depp’s former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder will now not appear to support his libel claim.
Today in court, Mr Bett also insisted that he was not lying over claims that he saw Depp being regularly attacked by Heard but never hit back. When accused of lying by Ms Wass, he said: ‘You can call me a liar a hundred times but I’m not lying, I’m telling the truth.’
Johnny Depp’s security guard Sean Bett today revealed a photograph of the actor with a black eye after his then-wife Amber Heard allegedly punched him. He said it was taken on April 2016, but the court heard claim it was actually March 2015
Johnny Depp (left) and Amber Heard (right) arrive at the Royal Courts of Justice in London today for the libel trial to continue
Security guard Sean Bett (pictured today), who has worked for Depp and his family for nine years, gave evidence at the court
Mr Bett was shown a photograph of Depp with a facial injury. He initially stated in his statement that this was from an incident in April 2016, when he claimed Heard attacked the Hollywood star after he arrived late for her birthday.
Security guard becomes confused over when photograph of Depp’s injuries was taken
It was revealed by Ms Wass that the photograph was in fact from an incident in March 2015 when Heard has admitted to attacking Depp in an attempt to protect her sister Whitney.
Ms Wass said: ‘This is a picture from March 2015 in which she (Heard) admits she punched Mr Depp in defence of her sister.’
Turning to Mr Bett, she said: ‘This is the only photo of Mr Depp with a visible injury. You are suggesting that this injury is in relation to an incident that took place more than a year later.’
Mr Bett told the court he had been sent the one attached to his statement by Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman and that he initially believed it was the one he had taken, but had recently learned it was a different photo from March 2015, after seeing a version with a time and date stamp.
He said: ‘He (Mr Waldman) sent me the photograph initially and asked me if I had any recollection of it and I said ‘yes, of course’.
He added: ‘I do remember taking that photograph, which now I know isn’t the photograph that I took but a photograph was taken which was very similar to that photograph.’
Mr Bett explained that he had not kept old mobile phones and had looked for the original photo he took but been unable to find it, and thought perhaps he had taken the photo on Depp’s phone on April 21.
Depp is assisted into the High Court by his security team this morning for his libel claim against The Sun to continue
Amber Heard (centre) arrives at the High Court today with her girlfriend Bianca Butti (left) and sister Whitney Heard (right)
He said he realised the mistake a few days ago when he saw the time stamp on the photo and told Depp’s lawyers.
Ms Wass put it to him that he had attempted to use the wrong photograph to support his evidence of Depp being injured on April 21 and the security guard replied: ‘That is not true, because I have taken other photographs of injuries which I have sent to the attorneys.’
The 14 times Johnny Depp is accused of attacking Amber Heard
1. Early 2013
Heard says Depp was completely sober until early 2013, and around that time he allegedly hit her for the first time when they were in Los Angeles.
She claims Depp later cried and apologised, telling her that he sometimes turns into ‘the monster’ when he snaps.
Depp has ‘expressly denied’ hitting Heard and said that, around early 2013, he had ‘confined himself to drinking wine and using marijuana, having been sober from around December 2011 to August 2012’.
2. March 8, 2013
Heard claims Depp was angry she had hung up a painting by her ex-partner Tasya Van Ree by her bed in her LA home, then tried to set the painting on fire and hit her ‘so hard that blood from her lip ended up on the wall’.
Depp, however, says he simply asked Heard to move the painting from the bedroom ‘as a courtesy’ and that she had an ‘extreme reaction’.
He also says a text he later sent describing the evening as a ‘disco bloodbath’ was to ‘placate Ms Heard’ and not an apology for alleged violence.
3. June 2013
Heard and Depp were in Hicksville, US with a group of people including Heard’s sister Whitney and Depp’s assistant Nathan Holmes.
Heard says Depp, who was ‘taking drugs’, became ‘enraged’ and ‘jealous’ when one of her friends touched her, and he then threw glasses at her, ripped her dress and damaged the cabin they were staying in.
Depp says he drank and took magic mushrooms, as did Heard and her friends who also took MDMA.
He claims Heard’s friend touched Heard in an ‘extremely sexual manner’ and he spoke to her to ask her to stop.
4. May 24, 2014
The pair took a private plan from Boston to LA: Heard says that during the flight Depp, who had been drinking heavily, threw objects at her, pushed a chair at her, slapped her and kicked her in the back before passing out in the toilet.
Depp says Heard ‘began to harangue him’ as he was sketching in a notebook, he then tried to ‘playfully tap her on the bottom with his foot’, at which Heard took ‘great offence’ and ‘continued to verbally berate’ him.
5. August 17, 2014
The couple went to the Bahamas, Depp says to ‘cure his dependence on painkillers’, although Heard claims he was trying to give up other drugs too.
Heard says Depp had ‘several manic episodes’ and his private doctor had to be flown over to help. She alleges that he slapped, kicked and grabbed by the hair during an attack.
Depp alleges Heard stopped a nurse from giving him treatment while he was going through withdrawal.
6. December 17, 2014
Heard says Depp was ‘violent towards’ her in LA, and later texted calling himself a ‘f****** savage’ and a ‘lunatic’. Depp denies any allegation of violence and says NGN has ‘failed to provide any particulars of the alleged violence’.
7. January 25, 2015
While the couple were in Tokyo, Japan, Heard claims Depp shoved and slapped her and grabbed her by the hair, before standing over her and shouting while she was on the floor – which Mr Depp denies.
8. Around March 3-5, 2015
Depp is said to have repeatedly assaulted Heard after an argument over his alleged use of MDMA during a three-day trip to Australia. She says he stayed up all night, taking pills and drinking, and then attacked her again the next morning.
Heard says, the following night, Depp pushed her into a table tennis table, tore off her nightgown and attacked her, before smashing a telephone into a wall and severing the top of his middle finger.
She also claims he had written messages to her around the house in a mixture of paint and blood from his finger, which Depp admits doing while ‘in shock’, as well as having ‘urinated all over the house in an attempt to write messages’, which he denies.
Depp says Heard was in ‘a prolonged and extreme rage’ following an argument over a post-nuptial agreement. He says he then ‘broke my sobriety’ with several glass of vodka, before Heard threw a bottle at him, severing the top of his finger, and stubbed a cigarette out on his cheek.
9. March 2015
Heard says Depp became ‘enraged’ when they were in LA with her sister and began destroying things in the house before hitting her ‘hard and repeatedly’. She also claims he tried to push her sister down the stairs before hitting Heard again.
Depp, however, says Heard was ‘berating him in a rage’ as he tried to leave, threw a can of Red Bull at him and punched him in the face before he finally left.
10. August 2015
While they were on the Eastern and Oriental Express in south east Asia, Heard alleges Depp ‘picked a fight’ with her, hit her and pushed her against a wall by the throat, ‘causing her to fear for her life’ – which is denied by Depp.
11. November 26, 2015
In LA, Depp is alleged to have ripped Heard’s shirt and ‘threw her around the room’, also throwing a wine glass and a ‘heavy glass decanter’ at her, as well as pushing her over a chair which caused her to bang her head against a wall. Depp says they were in LA for Thanksgiving, but denies any allegation of abuse.
12. December 15, 2015
Heard claims Depp threw a decanter at her in their penthouse in LA, then slapped her and dragged her through the apartment by her hair, allegedly pulling ‘large chunks of hair’ from Heard’s scalp.
She says he then followed her upstairs and pushed her to the floor while shouting ‘you think you’re a f****** tough guy’ before headbutting her.
Heard says that when she told Depp she wanted to leave him he grabbed her and screamed: ‘I f****** will kill you – I’ll f****** kill you, you hear me?’
Depp, though, says ‘Ms Heard fabricated the alleged violence’, falsely claiming that ‘blonde hair on the floor was her hair’.
He also claims that ‘the only violence committed on that date was by Ms Heard’, who allegedly ‘violently attacked’ him.
13. April 21, 2016
Heard says Depp arrived at her birthday party at their LA home late, ‘drunk and high on drugs’ and they had an argument after the guests had left.
She claims he threw a bottle of champagne at her and shoved her to the floor several times before leaving a note reading: ‘Happy F****** Birthday.’
Depp says he arrived at the party around two hours late following a meeting with his new business manager and accountants, and that he was not on drugs but ‘shocked from what he had learnt at the meeting about his business affairs’.
He claims Heard had been ‘drinking heavily’ and attacked him while he was reading in bed, punching him in the face four times before he grabbed her arms to stop her.
Depp says the next day Heard or one of her friends ‘defecated in Mr Depp’s and Ms Heard’s bed’, and that Heard later told the building manager Kevin Murphy that it was ‘just a harmless prank’ – at which he point he ‘then resolved to divorce Ms Heard’.
14. May 21, 2016
Depp arrived at their LA apartment, allegedly ‘drunk and high’ while Heard was there with friends.
Heard said Depp became ‘very angry’, throwing her phone at her and hitting her in the eye before smashing ‘everything he could’ with a magnum of champagne.
He says he went to the apartment with two security guards to collect his belongings after Heard and her sister ‘repeatedly’ tried to contact him.
Depp claims his two security guards entered the room when they heard Heard shouting, and saw her ‘repeatedly screaming, ‘stop hitting me, Johnny” while he was 20 feet away in the kitchen.
He also says that two police officers who attended the apartment after the incident ‘saw no injuries or bruising or swelling’.
Heard had no injuries following a row with Depp in their LA penthouse, says bodyguard
Mr Bett also insisted that he did not see Heard with any injuries following a row between Depp and Heard a month later in the Los Angeles penthouse they shared, when it is alleged, he left her with a black eye.
In a statement submitted to court, Mr Bett insisted that he had never seen Depp being ‘violent to anyone including Ms Heard.’
He claimed that he regularly saw the Aquaman actress throw ‘bottles, glass and other objects’ at Depp while also being verbally abusive to him.
In response, maintained Mr Bett, Depp always remained passive and ‘always tried to remove himself from the situation.’
He also described Heard as ‘polite’ when asked by Ms Wass if he had found her to be ‘perfectly polite’ when he was on his own with her without Depp. He was asked about the ‘guard shack’ at Depp’s home.
Security guard reveals how Depp’s home had a ‘guard shack’ for monitoring CCTV cameras
He told the court: ‘The guard shack was an area where the security personnel stayed at his Hollywood address. It had several cameras in there, CCTV cameras, where you could monitor the streets and property.’
Ms Wass put it to Mr Bett: ‘You said in your statement that Ms Heard never told you that Mr Depp would hit her.’ He replied: ‘Correct.’
Ms Wass asked if it came as a ‘surprise’ to him that she did not confide in him in the circumstances, saying he was Depp’s employee. ‘There was absolutely no reason whatsoever for Ms Heard to confide in you,’ Ms Wass said.
Mr Bett told the court he would sometimes drive Heard home to the Eastern Columbia Buildings from Depp’s Sweetzer Avenue property in Los Angeles.
Depp would ‘feel bad for’ Heard and didn’t want her driving home herself while upset
He said Depp would ‘feel bad for her’ and would say that he didn’t want her driving home herself while upset, so Mr Bett would drive her and make sure she got home safely.
The bodyguard said: ‘During these times she would be crying, saying how much she loved Mr Depp and she’s tired of the arguing, and I would tell her, ‘well this has to stop between you two’.’
Ms Wass asked him if he was present during arguments between the couple and he said he was there ‘when she would get upset for no apparent reason’, adding that it was ‘like a tantrum’.
Mr Bett was asked about part of his witness statement in which he said Heard was someone who ‘behaved badly’ when she had been drinking alcohol, and he confirmed to Ms Wass that he had seen both Heard and Depp drinking on ‘many occasions’.
Ms Wass QC asked Mr Bett about Heard’s 30th birthday party at the Eastern Columbia Buildings on April 21, 2016 and the security guard confirmed that he drove Depp from there to the Sweetzer Avenue home at some point after the guests had gone.
He then confirmed to Mr Justice Nicol that Depp had ownership or control of a number of penthouses in the Eastern Columbia Buildings, Sweetzer Avenue and a Woodrow Wilson address, which is where his children Lily-Rose and Jack and their mother Paradis live.
Ms Wass asked Mr Bett how long he, Depp’s former head of security Jerry Judge and Depp were in the apartment building on May 21 2016, to which Mr Bett said ‘between 30 and 40 minutes’.
The barrister then showed Mr Bett CCTV footage of the three of them entering the lift at around 7pm and leaving at around 8.30pm. She said: ‘It would appear that your estimate of how long you were there is incorrect.’
Mr Bett replied: ‘They are slightly off according to the (footage).’
Ms Wass asked what happened when Mr Bett entered the penthouse and whether ‘Ms Heard was sitting on the sofa’. Mr Bett said: ‘No, she was standing.’
Ms Wass asked if Ms Heard was crying, to which Mr Bett said: ‘She was agitated and upset.’ He added: ‘I can’t remember if I saw tears.’
Heard said she would call police ‘if he hits me one more time’, court hears
Ms Wass said: ‘Ms Heard said to Jerry Judge ‘if he hits me one more time I’m going to call the cops’.’ Mr Bett confirmed that she said ‘words to that effect’.
Ms Wass asked if Mr Bett was certain that he saw ‘no injuries to Ms Heard’. Mr Bett replied: ‘Correct.’
He added: ‘If you are 20 feet away, in my opinion it can be difficult to see a tear on one’s face (but) it’s clear if there is an injury of any type, you would be able to see.’
Mr Bett said that he would be able to have seen an injury to Heard ‘especially with her fair skin’.
Ms Wass suggested to Mr Bett that ‘you are lying and that she had visible reddening to her cheek’. Mr Bett replied: ‘I’m not a liar, I’m telling the truth.’
Ms Wass asked if Johnny Depp was ‘extremely agitated’ when he was being ‘ushered out of the flat’, and Mr Bett said he was. The barrister said: ‘Presumably you have seen him like that many times before.’ Mr Bett said: ‘No.’
Ms Wass said Depp then went to one of the neighbouring penthouses he owned and ‘was threatening people, other people (Joshua) Drew and the other woman’.
Mr Bett replied: ‘That’s not true. Mr Depp told Mr Drew and the said female to get out of this apartment.’
Ms Wass said: ‘When Mr Depp left (the penthouse) he had with him a bottle of red wine, do you remember that?’ Mr Bett replied: ‘I can’t confirm if he had wine with him or not.’
Ms Wass suggested Mr Depp ‘threw the wine and smashed the wine’ outside one of the other apartments. Mr Bett responded: ‘There was no smashing of anything.’
‘Did you not see wine dribbled along the wall?’ Ms Wass asked. ‘I didn’t,’ Mr Bett replied.
Ms Wass then said: ‘You knew the police had been called that night, didn’t you?’ Mr Bett said: ‘I did.’
Ms Wass asked: ‘How did you find that out?’ Mr Bett replied: ‘I believe that the estate manager at the time, Kevin Murphy, sent me a text.’
Ms Wass continued: ‘The name of the officers who attended, you found out their names, didn’t you?’ Mr Bett said: ‘Not until they had a deposition and it was made public.’
Ms Wass said that Ms Heard would have known the identities of the two police officers who attended, but that ‘there was no way the public would have access to the identities’.
She asked: ‘Are you able to offer any explanation as to how the identities of the police officers were released to the Depp team in order to enable them to depose those two witnesses?’ Mr Bett replied: ‘I have no idea how those names were obtained.’
Ms Wass asked: ‘It would have to be some sort of inside information at the LAPD?’ She added: ‘This is, on the face of it, confidential police information, isn’t it?’ Mr Bett replied: ‘No, if there is a court order… departments in California are bound to release it.’
Ms Wass asked: ‘You played no part in seeking the identity of those officers?’ Mr Bett replied: ‘That’s correct.’
Ms Wass put it to Mr Bett: ‘Your evidence, Mr Bett, is that Mr Depp is not violent and you are not violent.’ He replied: ‘That’s correct.’
Woman claimed she was ‘roughed up’ by Depp’s bodyguards at an Iggy Pop concert
Ms Wass then referred to a 2012 court case about an alleged incident involving Depp’s security guards at an Iggy Pop concert.
She read out an LA Times article about the incident in which a woman alleged she was ‘roughed up’ and forced into handcuffs by Depp’s bodyguards.
‘It’s not factually accurate,’ Mr Bett said. Ms Wass asked Mr Bett: ‘Did you ever say to this lady that you were a police officer?’ ‘No,’ he replied.
Ms Wass said the woman’s pants were removed ‘exposing her buttocks’.
At this point, the judge intervened to ask Ms Wass where her line of questioning was going. Mr Depp’s barrister David Sherborne said: ‘This is ridiculous.’
Ms Wass asked Mr Bett: ‘Do you agree that you were involved in violence against a woman?’
Mr Bett replied: ‘No, and those statements are incorrect and it was proved through the testimony of witnesses.’
Ms Wass said there was a ‘confidential settlement’ of the case, and Mr Bett said: ‘Yes.’
Mr Sherborne asked Mr Bett about the incident at the Iggy Pop concert: ‘Was Mr Depp on his own or with his children?’ Mr Bett replied: ‘His children were present.’
Security guard talks about ‘recurring cycle’ in which Heard would ‘abuse’ Depp
Mr Bett alleged in his written statement that there was a ‘recurring cycle’ in which Heard would ‘abuse’ Depp, who would then ‘remove himself from the situation’.
A woman films Johnny Depp arriving at the High Court in London this morning as legal proceedings in the capital continue
Depp waves to the photographers outside the High Court this morning (left), while his ex-wife Heard also arrives (right)
Mr Bett said it was a ‘very common occurrence’ that the actor would call members of his security team to ‘take him away from Ms Heard’.
Mr Bett, a former deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, claimed in his witness statement that he saw the couple ‘very regularly’ during their relationship and ‘never saw any cuts, bruises or other injuries on Ms Heard’.
Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis WON’T give evidence to the High Court after Johnny Depp chooses NOT to call them to contest ‘wife beater’ claims in libel showdown with ex-wife Amber Heard
Winona Ryder and Vanessa Paradis will no longer be called to give evidence in Johnny Depp’s libel claim against The Sun over an article that labelled him a ‘wife beater’, the High Court has heard.
Depp’s former partners were due to appear via video link this week, but the actor’s barrister David Sherborne told the court Depp’s legal team had decided there is no need to hear from them.
At the start of day eight of Depp’s claim, Mr Sherborne said there was no need to call Ryder and Paradis given that the defendant’s case is that the actor was not violent to other partners but was to Heard.
Johnny Depp and his former partner Vanessa Paradis in London on October 17, 2004. Paradis will now no longer appear at the court today via videolink in support of Depp’s libel claim against a newspaper over an article that labelled him a ‘wife beater’
He told the court: ‘There is no need to reschedule those witnesses, much as it would have been a pleasure to have them here.’
Paradis, who was in a relationship with Depp for more than 14 years and had two children with him, was due to give evidence in support of the actor’s case today.
At a preliminary hearing in the case, part of Paradis’s witness statement said: ‘I have known Johnny for more than 25 years. We’ve been partners for 14 years and we raised our two children together.
‘Through all these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous, and non-violent person and father.’
She added: ‘He was never violent or abusive to me.’
Yesterday, the court did not have time to hear from actress Winona Ryder, who was engaged to Mr Depp in the 1990s.
Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder in Los Angeles in September 1990. Ryder had been due to give evidence via videolink
The court has previously heard Depp had a ‘Winona Forever’ tattoo when the pair were an item, which he later changed to ‘Wino Forever’.
At a preliminary hearing in the case, part of Ms Ryder’s witness statement was revealed in court documents, which read: ‘I cannot wrap my head around (Ms Heard’s) accusations.
‘He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me.’
‘On the contrary, throughout the course of Mr Depp and Ms Heard’s relationship, Ms Heard was verbally and physically abusive towards Mr Depp,’ he alleged.
‘On many occasions, I witnessed her shout at Mr Depp. I was also told by Mr Depp on multiple occasions that Ms Heard had physically abused him.
‘A very common occurrence throughout the relationship would be that Mr Depp would have me, and other members of his security team, take him away from Ms Heard, due to her behaviour. He would then stay somewhere else.
‘This happened on so many occasions that it is not possible for me to remember them all in detail. However, I would describe it as a recurring cycle that Ms Heard would abuse Mr Depp, who would then remove himself from the situation.’
Mr Bett also claimed: ‘Ms Heard often behaved in this way when she had been drinking. I learnt quickly to recognise the signs, so that we were able to leave the situation before it escalated further.’
In his statement, Mr Bett gave his account of an incident on May 21 2016, in which Depp is alleged to have thrown a phone at Heard and smashed objects at their LA penthouse, which he denies.
Mr Bett said he and another security guard, Jerry Judge, were waiting outside and entered the apartment when they heard shouts from Ms Heard.
His statement said: ‘When we entered, we saw Mr Depp standing approximately 20 feet away from Ms Heard, who was standing by the couch.
‘As soon as Ms Heard noticed that we had entered the room, she looked very surprised; her demeanour then changed and she pointed at Mr Depp and screamed to us words to the effect of ‘If he hits me one more time, I am calling the police’.’
Mr Bett went on to say: ‘I have quite good eyesight. I was able to see that Ms Heard was wearing little or no make-up, her skin was quite pale and she had no red marks or evidence of any bruises or abrasions to her face or body.
‘I could see Mr Depp was visibly upset at having been accused of hitting Ms Heard. However, he never came closer than 20 feet to her during the time I was able to observe them.
‘I did not notice any smashed glass or broken bottles in the apartment at the time.’
Mr Bett claimed he, Depp and Mr Judge agreed that the actor should leave the building ‘due to the fact that the situation had escalated and Ms Heard was hysterically shouting at Mr Depp and making allegations about his behaviour’.
Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder will now not appear at court to support Depp’s libel claim
Meanwhile, it was revealed today Depp’s former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder will now not appear at the High Court to support his libel claim.
Actress Paradis, who was in a relationship with Depp for more than 14 years and had two children with him, had been expected to give evidence in support of the Pirates Of The Caribbean star’s case over a videolink today.
But the court was told today that there was no need for her – or another ex-partner, actress Ryder – to give evidence because Depp’s claim that he has never hit a woman was only tested by the defence regarding Heard.
At an earlier preliminary hearing in the case, part of 47-year-old Paradis’s witness statement said: ‘I have known Johnny for more than 25 years. We’ve been partners for 14 years and we raised our two children together.
‘Through all these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous, and non-violent person and father.’ She added: ‘He was never violent or abusive to me.’
This morning, Depp’s barrister David Sherborne said the trial timetable had been revised, adding: ‘There is no need to reschedule those witnesses (Ryder and Paradis), much as it would have been a pleasure to have them here.’
Witnesses will instead today include Starling Jenkins and Alejandro Romero, who worked at the Eastern Columbia Buildings in LA where Heard and Depp lived.
Heard’s former PA accuses her of ‘twisting’ her own account of a rape for ‘her own use’
Yesterday, Heard’s former personal assistant accused the actress of ‘twisting’ her own account of a machete-point rape for ‘her own use’, in explosive evidence on the seventh day of Depp’s libel claim.
Appearing by videolink from Los Angeles yesterday, Kate James claimed Heard, 34, had ‘stolen’ her story of being ‘violently raped’ in Brazil almost three decades ago.
In her witness statement, Ms James said she discovered the Aquaman actress had ‘stolen my sexual violence conversation with her and twisted it into her own story to benefit herself’.
She added: ‘This of course caused me extreme distress and outrage that she would dare to attempt to use the most harrowing experience of my life as her own narrative.’ Ms James said she was giving evidence because she took ‘offence’ at Heard’s actions.
NGN’s barrister Sasha Wass QC suggested Ms James had been ‘influenced’ by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas actor Depp and his associates and ‘encouraged’ to give ‘vicious evidence’ against Heard.
Johnny Depp being taken to hospital with a severed finger, following the incident in Australia in March 2015
Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy ‘The Rum Diary’ and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They are pictured at the film’s premiere in London in November 2011
Ms James replied: ‘I’m here for my own reasons … I’m a sexual violence survivor and that’s very, very serious to take that stance if you are not one and I am one. That’s the reason I’m here, because I take offence.’
Ms James, who worked for Heard between 2012 and 2015, said her former employer would send a ‘barrage of drunk text messages between the hours of two and four in the morning … on an almost daily basis’, describing the messages as ‘abusive’.
She accused Heard of deleting all the ‘abusive’ texts after the actress terminated her employment, adding: ‘She saved the ones that weren’t.’
Heard ‘did not care about throwing anyone under the bus’, says former PA
In her statement, Ms James said Heard felt she was ‘above the law’, and claimed she ‘did not care about throwing anyone under the bus, if it meant saving her own skin’.
Heard asked her in September 2014 to send a letter the actress had drafted to Homeland Security officials in the US about a woman named Savannah McMillan, who had been hired to work as a set assistant, Ms James claimed.
According to Ms James, Heard said in the letter: ‘Savannah McMillan is a personal friend and, to my knowledge, has never worked unlawfully or otherwise in the United States. Or for me.’
Amber Heard photographed Johnny Depp with ice cream spilled on his legs during a private flight from Boston to Los Angeles in May 2014 before showing it to him the next day and saying: ‘Look at what you’ve become’, the court heard earlier this week
A man holding a placard in support of Depp stands outside the High Court in London this morning ahead of the latest hearing
Ms James said in her statement that Heard ‘knew this to be untrue’ and ‘Amber was therefore wilfully lying to the US immigration department’.
She also claimed Heard ‘deliberately smuggled’ two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into Australia illegally in April 2015.
Heard asked Depp’s estate manager to ask her PA to ‘lie under oath’, court hears
The High Court in London earlier heard evidence from Kevin Murphy, Depp’s former estate manager, who claimed Heard asked him to contact Ms James and ask her to ‘lie under oath’ to an Australian court.
Mr Murphy said the actress also ‘demanded’ he make a false statement about the animals being ‘smuggled’ into the country, and told him: ‘I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job.’
In October 2015, Heard faced criminal proceedings in Australia for taking the couple’s two dogs into the country illegally.
She and Depp later recorded a now infamous video, which was played to the court, apologising for doing so.
The carnage in a home in Australia after Depp and Heard allegedly had a fight in 2015, which was released yesterday as part of Ben King’s evidence. The picture shows an undamaged phone handset, with Mr King insisting ‘ I did not see any phones which had been broken’, despite Heard’s claims that he smashed it against a wall and cut off his fingertip while attacking her
Depp is alleged to have trashed a penthouse in Los Angeles, California, which Heard used as a colossal closet
Photographs were issued by Heard’s legal team of her with injuries to her face around the time of the alleged attack on December 15, 2015, showing bruising across the bridge of her nose and under her eyes after Depp allegedly headbutted her
Mr Murphy said he lied under oath ‘because Amber wielded a lot of power and would have made my life miserable’.
Johnny Depp v The Sun: Key issues in libel trial
Hollywood star Johnny Depp’s libel claim against The Sun enters its second week on Monday. These are the key issues the trial judge, Mr Justice Nicol, has to determine.
– Whether the April 2018 article by the tabloid’s executive editor Dan Wootton was defamatory of Depp. Under the Defamation Act 2013, a statement is not defamatory unless its publication causes ‘serious harm to the reputation of the claimant’.
– The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), is defending the claim and relying on a defence of truth. It is for the publisher to prove that the allegations made in the article are ‘substantially true’.
– The meaning of the article, which is defined as what it would mean to the ‘reasonable reader’, will have to be determined by the judge. But NGN’s lawyers say the differences between the rival meanings contended by each side are ‘not significant’ and the outcome of the case will therefore not turn on meaning.
– Depp’s case is that the article bore the meaning that he was ‘guilty, on overwhelming evidence, of serious domestic violence against his then wife, causing significant injury and leading to her fearing for her life, for which he was constrained to pay no less than £5 million to compensate her, and which resulted in him being subjected to a continuing court restraining order; and for that reason is not fit to work in the film industry’. He strenuously denies the allegations and claims he ‘has never hit or committed any acts of physical violence against Ms Heard’.
– The meaning which NGN will seek to prove is true is that the Claimant beat his wife Amber Heard, causing her to suffer significant injury and on occasion leading her to fearing for her life. They rely on 14 separate allegations of violence and allege more generally that Depp was ‘controlling and verbally and physically abusive’ towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and or drugs, throughout their relationship. NGN’s lawyers say an important issue for the judge to decide will be what substances Depp was using during the relationship. They contend that he frequently lost control of himself, partly because of his heavy drug and alcohol use, and also that his memory has been impaired by his heavy use of drugs.
– If Depp wins his case, the judge will have to decide what level of compensation he should receive for the harm to his reputation and for the ‘distress, hurt and humiliation caused’. There is an upper limit on general damages for libel of £300,000 to £325,000. However, if he succeeds, Depp may also be entitled to aggravated damages. The actor is also asking for a final injunction against NGN, who his legal team say ‘have retained the article on their website and maintained their allegation to the bitter end’.
He also gave evidence about the ‘defecation incident’, when faeces were found in the couple’s bed after Heard’s 30th birthday party in April 2016.
Ms Wass read a text from Heard to Mr Murphy in October 2014, when the actress said: ‘I’m worried she’s got brain damage. She can’t seem to predict or control when she uses the bathroom.
‘Last night she s**t ON Johnny while he was sleeping, like all over him. Not exaggerating.’
Mr Murphy said in his witness statement that, when he spoke to Depp in April 2016 about the ‘defecation incident’, the actor was ‘sullen and disgusted’.
Ms Wass read two text messages sent by Depp shortly after the incident, saying that in one, he wrote ‘my wife left a whopper poop on my bed’ and ‘then he says ‘Amber Turd”.
She said: ‘In fact, it appears from those texts that Depp found the subject quite amusing,’ to which Mr Murphy said he thought the actor was being ‘sarcastic’.
Mr Murphy was asked if Heard had told him the faeces in the bed was a ‘harmless prank’, and said: ‘She certainly did.’
Yesterday morning, Depp’s previous estate manager, Ben King, gave evidence that Depp and Heard ‘argued like schoolchildren’, with explosive rows starting from ‘banal beginnings’.
He claimed Heard was the ‘antagoniser’ in the relationship, often ‘goading’ and attempting to provoke the actor.
Mr King, who worked for the Hollywood star for three separate periods between 2014 and 2016, said he never saw Depp ‘be violent or unkind towards Heard, or indeed towards anyone else’.
In his first witness statement, Mr King said that in March 2015 he was summoned to the house the couple were renting in Australia, where he found a ‘significant amount of damage’ and discovered the actor’s severed fingertip on the floor of the bar area while cleaning up broken glass and debris.
Depp has been accused of subjecting Heard to a ‘three-day hostage situation’ and trashing the house during the Australia trip, which he denies.
His finger was severed during the stay, which he says was caused by Ms Heard throwing a vodka bottle at him, which she denies.
Yesterday, the court did not have time to hear from actress Ryder, who was engaged to Mr Depp in the 1990s, or Katherine Kendall, an actress and #MeToo advocate who claims she was ‘misquoted’ in The Sun’s article.
Depp is suing NGN and its executive editor Dan Wootton over the publication of an article headlined: ‘Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’.
His lawyers say the article bore the meaning there was ‘overwhelming evidence’ Depp assaulted Heard on a number of occasions and left her ‘in fear for her life’.
Heard claims that, during an incident in Australia, she was subjected to a ‘three-day hostage situation’ during which Depp drank to excess and took pills.
NGN is defending the article as true, and says Depp was ‘controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs’.