Actor Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London, Britain July 22, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
July 22, 2020
By Michael Holden
LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. actress Amber Heard on Wednesday denied severing the tip of ex-husband Johnny Depp’s finger during a violent argument, saying that the Hollywood star had been throwing bottles at her “like grenades”.
Heard was giving evidence at London’s High Court for a third day on behalf of the publishers of Britain’s Sun newspaper, which Depp is suing for libel after it labelled him a “wife beater” in a 2018 article.
The actress, who accuses the 57-year-old “Pirates of the Caribbean” star of physical abuse on at least 14 occasions, was questioned about an incident in Australia in March 2015.
Depp has told the court the tip of his finger was severed during an argument when Heard, 34, threw a vodka bottle which struck his hand.
“I only threw things to escape Johnny when he was beating me up,” Heard said.
She said she had taken a bottle from Depp from which he was drinking and smashed it on the floor, saying “it snapped something in him” leading him to hurl about 30 bottles at her.
“He picked them up and started using them like grenades or bombs…throwing one after another in my direction.”
Depp’s lawyer Eleanor Laws said Heard’s account that the actor had severed his finger by smashing a phone against a wall and then continued to assault her was a lie.
“No it’s not,” she replied. “I don’t think he meant to sever the finger, but, yes, he carried on attacking me.”
Laws also accused Heard of stubbing a cigarette out on Depp’s cheek. “No, Johnny did it right in front of me. He often did things like that,” she said. She later told the court Depp’s body was covered in scars and burns caused by his self-harming.
THREATENED MANY TIMES
In her testimony so far, Heard has said Depp threatened to kill her many times while the violence she suffered included being slapped, headbutted and throttled.
She has also denied accusations that she was making up her account as she went along, such as a claim she made on Tuesday that she had been told Depp once pushed his ex-girlfriend Kate Moss downstairs.
Heard was questioned about the aftermath of another incident in December 2015 when she says Depp headbutted her, breaking her nose, leaving her with two black eyes, bruised ribs and a cut lip while he pulled out clumps of her hair.
The following day she appeared on James Corden’s TV show but Laws said her stylist reported she had seen the actress without make-up and she had no injuries.
A nurse, a friend who saw her two days later, said Heard had a bleeding lip but did not report any bruising nor see any injuries to her scalp when she looked.
However, Heard’s make-up artist Melanie Inglessis said the actress told her Depp had “beat on her”, and that he had dragged her by the hair pulling some out from her crown, tried to suffocate her with a pillow and attempted to kill her.
Inglessis told the court she had used concealer to cover up “minimal discoloration” around Heard’s eyes and the bridge of her nose, which was red and swollen, for her TV appearance.
Laws also accused Heard of trying to make staff members take the blame when the couple took their dogs to Australia without the proper paperwork when they returned there in April 2015.
Heard later pleaded guilty in Australia to a charge of lying on a passenger form, and was let off with a good behaviour bond.
Concluding her cross-examination, Laws read out a statement from Tara Roberts, the estate manager of Depp’s private island in the Bahamas, who said she witnessed Heard berating him and then clawing him.
Roberts said Heard had shouted: “No one is going to hire you and “You’re washed up”. Roberts said Depp had an injury to his nose where Heard had thrown a can of lacquer thinner at him.
Heard told the court she had thrown the can to escape him. “He had threatened my life and sexually assaulted me,” she said.
The trial is set to conclude next week, although no ruling is expected immediately.
(Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Angus MacSwan)