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Amber Heard’s ex-friend cries as she feared ‘monster’ Johnny Depp would ‘do something worse than he intended’

‘I was worried for her physical safety that when he turned he might do something that was worse than he ever intended,’ she sobbed

Rachel Sharp
Wednesday 18 May 2022 17:32 BST
Ex-friend breaks down explaining why she feared for Amber Heard’s safety
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Amber Heard’s former best friend broke down in tears as she described how she feared “monster” Johnny Depp would “do something worse than he intended” to the Aquaman actress.

Raquel Pennington testified in the former couple’s multi-million-dollar defamation trial on Wednesday where she told jurors that she was “scared” for her friend’s safety around her then-husband Mr Depp.

“In the beginning I wasn’t worried. Towards the end when the phsycial abuse was more evident I was worried,” she sobbed.

“I was worried for her physical safety. I was worried that when he turned he might accidentally do something that was worse than he ever intended.”

Ms Pennington said that she was afraid for Ms Heard because Mr Depp “could be very unpredictable and [Ms Heard] didn’t have a lot of self-preservation”.

“I was scared for Amber. I was sad for her and I was also sad for Johnny as he was my friend too,” she said, her voice breaking.

“And I really wanted them to be able to get it together.”

Ms Pennington said Mr Depp’s different side was referred to as “the monster” – a name he gave himself for what he could sometimes turn into.

She said she heard Mr Depp directly refer to himself as “the monster” on several occasions.

“We called it the monster... me, Johnny, Amber, anyone else in the inner corcle that was privy to the private things that would happen,” she said, adding that it was Mr Depp who “named it that”.

Ms Pennington described how Mr Depp would “switch sometimes”.

“Johnny would be acting like his wonderful self for a certain portion of an occasion where people were hanging out or soemtimes just privately at home. And I never knew what caused it. The switch would happen,” she said.

“He would sometimes go off by himself or his mood would change to something darker.”

She recalled one 2013 incident where he “switched” when they were at the Hicksville Trailer Park, where she said Mr Depp shouted “Get off my woman” as Ms Heard was in a chair with a friend around the campfire.

She said Ms Heard got up to try and diffuse the situation.

The next day, she said she entered the couple’s trailer and saw it in “disarray”.

Ms Pennington used to be Ms Heard’s best friend and was a neighbour to her and Mr Depp, living in a penthouse in the same building – the Eastern Columbia Building in downtown Los Angeles – as the couple and witnessing the aftermath of several alleged incidents of domestic abuse.

Raquel Pennington breaks down as she testifies about injuries she saw on Amber Heard (REUTERS)

She testified about an alleged violent incident the day before Ms Heard appeared on the James Corden’s “The Late Late Show” in December 2015.

She told the court how she watched her friend sleep that night as she was so fearful she had concussion.

She said Ms Heard had asked her to come over to her penthouse and she found her very upset and with injuries.

“Her face was red, swollen, the hair had been ripped out of her head,” she testified.

“I don’t think I even slept that night watching her to make sure she didn’t...” she choked.

The court was shown photos taken by Ms Pennington that night showing Ms Heard’s swollen, bruised face.

She sobbed as she described the photos of her injuries to the court, saying that she saw her swollen face, black eyes, bust lip and that her hair was pulled out.

Ms Pennington said it is “false” to suggest that Ms Heard was uninjured when she appeared on “The Late Late Show” – after Mr Depp’s attorneys previously tried to refute Ms Heard’s allegations by saying that the injuries were not visible on the show.

“My reaction is that that is a false statement,” she said.

“I saw injuries on her body from the time directly after they happened throughout the next night, the next day and as they continued to heal.”

She insisted that she never staged any photos and said she was with Ms Heard when make-up was applied to cover the injuries before she appeared on the show.

Ms Pennington sobbed as she told how she saw injuries to Ms Heard on several other occasions and also saw the actress often “cover bruises and injuries on her face with make-up”.

Ms Heard was seen wiping tears from her eyes as she listened to the testimony.

Amber Heard wipes away tears as she listens to Raquel Pennington’s testimony (The Independent)

Mr Depp and Ms Heard’s penthouse in the Eastern Columbia Building was the scene of another alleged violent fight on 21 May 2016, which came just two days before Ms Heard filed for divorce and six days before she requested a domestic violence restraining order.

Ms Pennington testified that Ms Heard told her that Mr Depp wanted to come to their apartment to collect some of his belongings.

She said that she, her then-fiance Josh Drew and another friend Elizabeth Marz were with Ms Heard and they were in and out of different apartments and at some point Ms Heard returned to her own penthouse because Mr Depp was going over.

Later, she said that she received a message from Ms Heard saying to “come over” so she went straight over to the former couple’s penthouse.

She said she heard Mr Depp and Ms Heard yelling inside but the door was locked so she used a key to let herself in.

She testified that she heard Ms Heard calling “help, help”.

When she entered the apartment, she said she put herself between Ms Heard and Mr Depp and put her hands on his chest telling him to stop.

She said “ he pushed my hands away”.

Ms Pennington testified that she then put her arms around Ms Heard on the sofa and held her, while Mr Depp shouted right over them.

“He was yelling at her to get up or quit crying or something. It was really loud and he got closer and closer,” she said, breaking down.

Ms Pennington said that Mr Depp got “so close to us” that she thought about what to do if he got any closer.

“There was this big orange ceramic ashtray on the coffee table and I was thinking if he gets any closer I’m just going to pick up that ashtray and hit him with it as he was so close to us,” she cried.

Ms Pennington testified that she was afraid that Mr Depp was going to hurt his wife.

At some point, Mr Depp’s security team entered the apartment and Mr Depp “eventually” left the apartment, she said.

Ms Pennington testified that she did not see Mr Depp touch Ms Heard or throw anything at her while she was present in the apartment.

However she said she saw Mr Depp “smash” things on his way out.

“He had knocked over a bunch of items that were on the kitchen island… fruit baskets and bottles and things like that,” she said, adding that this was the “main damage” to the couple’s apartment.

The Pirates actor then allegedly destroyed things in other apartments in the building.

Jurors were shown photos of the damage inside the building from that alleged incident.

Ms Pennington denied accusations from Mr Depp’s legal team that she and Ms Heard “staged” the scene and that she had been “lying in wait” for him to come over to the penthouse.

“That is not true,” she said.

Mr Depp is suing his ex-wife for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she penned for The Washington Post where she described herself as a “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor is not named in the article, which is titled “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.

However Mr Depp claims that it falsely implies that he is a domestic abuser – something that he strongly denies – and that it has left him struggling to land roles in Hollywood. He is suing for $50m.

Ms Heard is countersuing for $100m, accusing Mr Depp of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

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