Photographs of Johnny Depp ‘s scratched and bruised face have been shown in court today over allegations he was slapped by his ex-wife Amber Heard.
The Hollywood actor, 57, returned to London’s High Court today for his ongoing libel case against The Sun publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and over an April 2018 article which branded him a “wife-beater” during his tumultuous relationship with Heard, 34.
Security guard Sean Bett, who has worked for Depp and his family for nine years, gave evidence at the court by revealing four photographs of the Hollywood actor with injuries after Amber Heard allegedly attacked him in 2015.
Appearing on the eighth day of court proceedings since the libel case started, Sean 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.’
In his witness statement released today, Bett also revealed a fourth photograph of an injured Depp and claimed that the injury in the picture was caused by Heard following her 30th birthday party in Los Angeles in April 2016.
But Sasha Wass QC, representing the News Group Newspapers argued that the photograph was actually taken in March 2015 and that Heard had already admitted she attacked Depp in defence of her sister Whitney.
Heard previously said she and Depp were having an argument when he approached Whitney in their home in Los Angeles – and she feared he might push her, so she hit him in the face.
Last week, Ms. Wass also 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. When Depp responded 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.’
While giving his evidence, Mr. Bett insisted 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.’
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.’
The security guard then told the court that Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman sent him the photo he attached to his statement which he initially thought was taken by him. But after seeing the time and date stamp on the photo, he realized it was a different photo from March 2015.
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.’
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 security guard 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 the court, Mr. Bett said he had never seen Depp being ‘violent to anyone including Ms. Heard,’ claiming that he regularly saw the Aquaman actress throw ‘bottles, glass, and other objects’ at Depp while also being verbally abusive to him.
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.
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.’
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.’