Amber Heard set to finish evidence in Johnny Depp ‘wife beater’ libel trial

Amber Heard set to finish evidence in Johnny Depp ‘wife beater’ libel trial
Johnny Depp court case

Amber Heard is due to finish giving evidence on Thursday in Johnny Depp’s High Court libel case against The Sun over allegations of domestic violence.

The Aquaman actress, 34, has accused Mr Depp, 57, of verbal and physical abuse throughout their relationship – allegedly punching, slapping, kicking, headbutting and choking her, as well as displaying “extremely controlling and intimidating behaviour”.

Mr Depp, however, says he was not violent towards Ms Heard, claiming it was she who was violent to him.

During her evidence, which began on Monday, Ms Heard has claimed Mr Depp pushed Kate Moss down a flight of stairs, called the faeces found in the couple’s bed after her 30th birthday “absolutely disgusting” and denied having an affair with Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Ms Heard will conclude her evidence about 14 allegations of domestic violence, which The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) relies on in its defence of an April 2018 article that called Mr Depp a “wife beater”, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Thursday.

Her sister Whitney Henriquez, who previously lived in one of five penthouses owned by Mr Depp in the Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles, is due to give evidence on Thursday afternoon.

Actor Johnny Depp took legal action over a newspaper (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

On Wednesday, Ms Heard denied telling “lies” about her claims Mr Depp was violent as the actor’s barrister Eleanor Laws QC accused her of “instigating the assaults and rows” and “concocting” the allegations against her ex-husband in response to other witnesses’ evidence.

Ms Heard told the High Court the star threw bottles “like grenades” during an explosive row in Australia in which the Pirates Of The Caribbean star lost the top of his middle finger in disputed circumstances.

Ms Laws put it to Ms Heard that, during the incident in Australia, the actress “worked yourself into a rage, screaming at him” and threw a glass bottle – Mr Depp claims the bottle severed the top of his finger.

Ms Heard said she got angry “at times” but “not to the extent where I would throw anything at him offensively”.

She also said she did break a bottle “very early” one evening of the trip, and that it was “before Johnny had started to throw the bottles at me”.

An artist’s impression of Ms Heard at the High Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Ms Heard claimed the couple were in an argument about Mr Depp drinking and, when she confronted him, he offered her the bottle, “teasing me to take it” and then pulling it away.

She added that she “reached for it a second time and I smashed it on the floor in between Johnny and I”, adding: “I regret I did that.”

Ms Heard told the court: “He started picking them up one by one and throwing them like grenades.

“One after the other after the other, in my direction, and I felt glass breaking behind me, I retreated more into the bar and he didn’t stop.

“I was too scared to look behind me. He threw all the bottles that were in reach, all except for one which was a celebratory magnum-sized bottle of wine.”

Ms Heard said she remembered that was the only bottle not smashed out of 30 or so.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard married in Los Angeles in February 2015 (Ian West/PA)

The actress was also asked about an alleged incident of domestic violence in Los Angeles in December 2015, which she described in a witness statement as “one of the worst and most violent nights of our relationship”.

Ms Heard alleges that Mr Depp slapped her, dragged her by the hair through their apartment, pulling clumps of her hair out, and then repeatedly punched her in the head, which he denies.

The actress became visibly upset as Ms Laws read through passages of her witness statement detailing the alleged abuse.

She was asked: “That’s just a complete set of lies, isn’t it?”

Ms Heard quietly replied: “No.”

The first time he (Johnny Depp) hit me, I didn't even know he was serious, I was laughing, I thought he was joking ...

Amber Heard

The court heard that medical notes made by a nurse, Erin Boerum, who saw Ms Heard shortly after the alleged incident, recorded that Ms Heard was “actively bleeding on her lip” and that she “briefly looked at the client’s scalp but was unable to visualise haematomas the client described”.

When it was put to her that she had no bruises when she saw Ms Boerum, Ms Heard said: “I had two black eyes, a broken nose, a broken rib … I had bruises all over my body.”

After she gave more details of injuries, Ms Laws suggested: “This is just nonsense, isn’t it? She (Ms Boerum) didn’t see any bruising … you had just bitten your lip because there was fresh blood on it.

“Had you just done that for her benefit?”

Ms Heard replied: “Of course not.”

Johnny Depp is suing NGN and The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Mr Depp is suing NGN and The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton over the publication of an article on April 27 2018, with the headline: “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” Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on a number of occasions and left her “in fear for her life”.

NGN is defending the article as true, and says Mr Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs”.

The blockbuster case, the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century, is due to finish next week with closing submissions from both sides’ legal teams on Monday and Tuesday.

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