15 Jul Johnny Depp libel case: Ex-aide tells court he found a piece of actor’s flesh after argument | Ents & Arts News
Johnny Depp’s former estate manager has told the High Court how he found a piece of the actor’s finger following a now infamous argument with Amber Heard in Australia.
Ben King, who worked for the Pirates Of The Caribbean star in Australia, London and Canada over three separate periods between 2014 and 2016, was the first witness to be called in the libel trial against The Sun on Wednesday.
An argument in Australia in March 2015, which has been discussed several times during the hearing so far and happened shortly after the pair got married, is one of 14 alleged incidents of violence against Depp – Heard has described it as a “three-day hostage situation”.
The 57-year-old actor’s finger was seriously wounded during the incident, when he claims Heard, 34, threw a bottle at him.
On Wednesday, Sasha Wass QC, representing The Sun’s publishers News Group Newspapers (NGN), asked Mr King about the clean-up operation in the aftermath of the argument.
The barrister asked if Mr King had the task of trying to find the missing tip of the actor’s finger, to which he replied: “It was mentioned that it may be somewhere and when I was clearing up I found it.”
Mr King told the court he found the piece of flesh near a bar area in the rented house the couple were staying in while Depp was filming a Pirates Of The Caribbean film.
Ms Wass said Mr King was “not qualified… to say where the injury took place or how the injury took place, you are not a pathologist”.
He replied: “I’m not a pathologist… I know what I saw when I arrived at the house.”
Mr King was also asked by Ms Wass if there was any “urine on the floor” in the house, to which he said there was not.
David Sherborne, representing Depp, told the court that in a previous statement given by Heard, she said Depp “took out his penis” before urinating in front of and inside the house.
Her statement went on: “He said he was trying to write my name on the carpet as he walked through the house.”
Still discussing the house in Australia, Ms Wass told the court “there was a lot of paint” and graffiti on the walls, which she said read: “Billy Bob Thornton, Amber Easy.”
Thornton, a former co-star of Heard’s, has been brought up previously in the proceedings.
Depp has admitted writing on a mirror and walls in the house in blood from his wounded finger, as well as paint, saying: “There was an incident once where Amber lied to me about Billy Bob Thornton, so I wrote his name.”
Returning to Los Angeles from Australia with Heard, Mr King noticed “some cuts on one of her arms”, the court heard.
“They were enough for me to say, ‘maybe you should put your sleeve down’,” he said.
Mr King was then asked about another trip back to Australia in April 2015, when Depp and Heard infamously took their dogs into the country “illegally”.
Mr King explained that he had returned to Australia before the pair and was already there when they arrived.
He told the court he had not been aware the dogs’ entry into the country was illegal.
Pictures of them were taken at a grooming parlour and it was “only at that stage that it was apparent there was a problem with the dogs… and the photos were shown in the media?”, Ms Wass said.
Mr King said in his witness statement that Ms Heard “complained about me to Mr Depp” after the photos were published, which “alerted the authorities to the fact that Ms Heard had illegally smuggled the dogs into the country”.
During his time in the witness box, Ms Wass put it to Mr King that when he first worked for Depp, he was told the star was “teetotal, having been a drinker”, which he said was correct.
When Mr King arrived at a house Depp and Heard were staying in in London, “there was a relatively large number of cases of wine that had been brought to the house and you found that strange,” Ms Wass said.
“You reached the conclusion that Ms Heard drank two bottles of wine a night,” the barrister said.
Mr King replied: “Not every night… it was a regular occurrence, but not every night.”
Mr King said he did not know if Depp was clean from drugs at that time. “It was not any of my business,” he told the court.
The trial continues.