The bodyguard testified that he helped Johnny Depp come up with a cover story to publicly explain the injury allegedly caused by Amber Heard in 2015

By Benjamin VanHoose
July 14, 2020 03:30 PM
Advertisement
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp
| Credit: Venturelli/Getty; John Phillips/Getty

Johnny Depp's bodyguard testified that he helped cover up that Amber Heard allegedly severed the actor's finger in a fight.

On Tuesday, Malcolm Connolly spoke in a London courtroom as part of Depp's ongoing libel case against News Group Newspapers (NGN), parent company of the U.K. outlet The Sun, which published a 2018 article calling Depp a "wife beater."

The bodyguard addressed a previous allegation that Heard put a cigarette out on Depp's face and threw a bottle at him that severed his finger during a fight in Australia in 2015. (Heard's attorney previously shot down the claim, saying, "This allegation is absurd, offensive and categorically untrue.")

According to The Guardian, Connolly testified that he fabricated a story at the time to publicly explain the injury, claiming that Depp told him, "She’s just cut my finger off," before going to the hospital.

"The usual victim pattern is to protect the abuser for some reason, you know the psychological bullying … they fit the same criteria, they never come forward with the information," the bodyguard said, adding that he devised the story that the Pirates of the Caribbean actor cut his digit in a bifold door.

Connolly also testified that he never witnessed Depp being physically abusive with Heard. "I would not tolerate any man striking a woman. No matter who he is. Not even if he is my boss. Not even if he is the Pope," he said.

Credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories

Last week, Depp, 57, spoke in court about the alleged incident that resulted in his severed finger. According to The Guardian, about $150,000 in damage was done to the rental home due to the fight, and Depp reportedly drew on the walls with the blood from his wound.

"After Miss Heard threw the second vodka bottle at me, which severed the tip of my finger and crushed the bone, is when I began what I would feel as some species of nervous breakdown," he testified. "I didn’t want to live at that time."

Heard, 34, previously alleged that Depp had been abusive during their 15-month marriage, a claim he has denied, saying that he was the victim of domestic violence in their relationship. Heard's lawyer Eric George denied the allegations against the actress, saying in a statement obtained by PEOPLE: "The evidence in this case is clear: Johnny Depp repeatedly beat Amber Heard. The increasingly desperate attempts by Mr. Depp and his enablers to revive his career by initiating baseless litigation against so many people once close to him — his former lawyers, former managers, and his former spouse — are not fooling anyone.”)

RELATED VIDEO: Elizabeth Hurley Is 'Saddened Beyond Belief' Over Death of Ex Steve Bing: 'It Is a Terrible End'

Heard and Depp tied the knot in 2015. In May 2016, she sought a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp denied the claims, and the former couple settled their divorce out of court in August 2016. She donated her $7 million divorce settlement to charity. Both actors signed NDAs barring them from discussing their relationship publicly.

Depp sued her for defamation in the U.S. after she wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described being an alleged victim of domestic violence. While she never mentioned Depp by name, the actor’s lawsuit called her allegations against him a “hoax.”

Heard’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, urged the court last fall to throw out the suit, arguing that the column was not about Heard’s allegations against Depp, but in March, a Virginia judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.