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July 24, 2020

Friend of Amber Heard claims she feared Johnny Depp might ‘accidentally kill’ her, Sun libel trial hears

By PA Mediapoint

A friend of Amber Heard has claimed she was concerned that Johnny Depp might “accidentally kill” the actress.

Raquel Pennington alleged she felt “an obligation to stay close” to Heard for her [Heard’s] safety.

In a written witness statement submitted in Depp’s libel trial against The Sun, Pennington said: “Many times over the course of their relationship, Amber has confided in me about Johnny abusing her, both physically and verbally.

“Of course, there were also periods of joy and positivity during the course of their relationship.”

Pennington claimed that the first time she was “really scared for Amber’s life” was the “Australia incident”.

Heard, 34, has claimed Depp subjected her to a “three-day hostage situation” in Australia in March 2015, alleging he was violent towards her.

Depp, 57, denies the allegations.

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In her statement, Pennington said that after Heard recounted the alleged incident to her, she “voiced my concerns to Amber that Johnny might accidentally kill her while he was intoxicated or delusional like he was in Australia”.

The statement adds: “But Amber continued to think she could help him and that things would get better, and I felt an obligation to stay close for her safety.”

Pennington gave her account of an alleged incident on 21 May 2016, at Depp and Heard’s LA penthouse.

Heard has alleged that during a violent row, the Edward Scissorhands actor threw a mobile phone at her, which he denies.

Pennington claimed that at 8.06pm that evening, Heard sent her a text asking her to come to her apartment “right away”.

Pennington was living with her then fiance, Josh Drew, in another of Depp’s penthouses at that time.

In her statement, she claims that Heard asked her to call for help, saying, “he hit me with the phone”, while Depp was “yelling obscenities, shouting ‘she’s a f****** liar. Get the f*** out of here. Oh, poor her. A little phone hit you. Poor f****** you. Oh, oh, so sorry'”.

She alleged that when Depp started to walk towards Heard, she “stepped in front of him to shield her from him, with my hands up, lightly touching his chest, and said ‘stop, please’.”

Pennington claimed: “To this he replied, ‘get your f****** hands off me’.

“He knocked my hands out of the way. I said ‘stop’ again and put my hands out again to stop him. Johnny yelled obscenities at me, directly into my face. He yelled at me to ‘get the f*** out’.”

‘Bombshell video’

Heard’s sister, Whitney Henriquez, was quizzed over a bombshell video which Depp‘s lawyers say shows the actress “assaulted” her.

In a dramatic development on day 14 of Depp’s blockbuster libel trial, his legal team told the High Court it had received the video from a “confidential source” on Thursday night, after Henriquez gave evidence that Heard had never attacked her.

After legal argument on whether the video was admissible as evidence, it was played to the court.

It shows Henriquez by a poolside with friends, talking, with one person heard to say, “did you get in a fight?” and then “I can’t believe Amber beat your ass”.

One woman appears to inspect Henriquez’ cheek and arm, and Henriquez says she is not going to talk about it.

David Sherborne, Depp‘s barrister, said the clip was captured during the filming of a reality television show in 2006 or 2007 and was not for broadcast, but was “the rushes”.

During Friday’s hearing, Eleanor Laws QC, representing Depp, reminded Henriquez that she gave evidence on Thursday that she had “only seen your sister hit Mr Depp once that was in self-defence and that your sister had never been violent or hit you”.

The barrister then played the video to Henriquez and said: “What you were being asked by the ladies on that clip was about a fight between you and your sister, wasn’t it?”

Henriquez replied: “We were referencing a verbal argument my sister and I had got into the night before.”

Laws later put it to Henriquez that “you have been talking about a physical fight”.

Henriquez denied that it was a physical fight and said her friends were “inferring, trying to make a storyline, albeit a bad one, interesting, nothing more”.

She added that they were “trying to make a very, very boring story more interesting”.

Laws continued: “We then see her looking at your face… and we see her holding onto your chin as if you are injured, don’t we?”

Henriquez said: “You don’t see any injuries there.”

The barrister added: “She’s holding onto your chin and remarking on the fact that you have got marks.”

Henriquez replied: “I don’t think she refers to any marks on my face.”

Laws then said: “And all you say is we are not talking about it.”

She added: “You don’t say ‘what are you talking about, we just had a row’.”

Henriquez said: “I had no interest in bringing a personal fight with my sister… a personal matter… I had no interest in doing that.”

Laws said: “That was a lie.”

Henriquez replied: “I disagree with that statement.”

Earlier, during legal argument, Sherborne told Mr Justice Nicol: “We say it is quite clear from that video that not only did Ms Amber Heard assault her sister, but it was quite clear also that the injuries that were suffered by Ms Whitney Heard are being examined by the individual that we see on the tape.

“There is no denial of the fact that Ms Amber Heard ‘beat up’ Ms Whitney Heard and that there are injuries.”

The barrister also said: “Ms Amber Heard says that she was never violent towards Mr Depp and the only time she assaulted him was that occasion when she was with Ms Whitney Heard… in self defence.”

Sasha Wass QC, for Sun publisher News Group Newspapers, said the film was “an undated piece of film footage in circumstances which appear to be some sort of reality TV programme, which is flippant, certainly not serious.”

“Whitney suggests, according to the transcript, that there is an altercation.

“When she is asked about whether her sister beat her she says she is not going to talk about it.”

She added: “This is a light-hearted exchange, there is no evidence of any injuries and it will take the matter… no further.”

The court also heard on Friday from Heard’s acting coach, who claimed she had become a “nervous wreck” about choosing film roles because she was “so worried” about Depp’s reaction.

Kristina Sexton alleged Depp “dictated” his ex-wife’s work and told her not to take certain jobs because he did not want her doing “whore parts”.

Sexton claimed she and Heard would put an audition on tape for roles and Depp would “put a stop to it if he didn’t deem it worthy”.

“I remember her telling me that they had ‘confrontations’ about her choice of parts, after which she would decide not to submit her tape,” Sexton alleged.

“She told me he was particularly concerned about her taking roles involving sexuality and/or sex scenes.”

The 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.

Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

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