Hollywood star Johnny Depp sent messages to actor friend Paul Bettany suggesting he would “burn” and “drown” girlfriend Amber Heard during their volatile relationship, a court has heard.
Previously unseen messages alleged to have been sent by the 55-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star were read out in court this afternoon, in a pre-trial hearing in his libel battle with The Sun newspaper.
Depp, who is sat in courtroom 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice behind his legal team, texted Mr Bettany on November 6, 2013 to say: “Let’s burn Amber”, the court heard.
Later the same day, the court was told he messaged to say: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will f*** her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she is dead."
Adam Wolanski QC, barrister for The Sun and its executive editor Dan Wootton, said another text to Mr Bettany appeared to refer to an alleged “altercation” with Ms Heard on a plane in May 2014.
The message read: “I’m gonna properly stop the booze thing, darling… Drank all night before I picked Amber up to fly to LA, this past Sunday…Ugly, mate.
"No food for days…powders…half a bottle of whiskey, a thousand red bull and vodkas, pills, 2 bottles of Champers on plane and what do you get..???
"An angry, aggro Injun in a f*****’ blackout, screaming obscenities and insulting any f*** who got near…I’m done.
"I am admittedly too f***** in the head to spray my rage at the one I love…For little reason, as well I’m too old to be that guy But, pills are fine!!!”
Mr Wolanski told the court Mr Depp is accused on the flight of “screaming obscenities” as he slapped Ms Heard in the face, kicked her in the back and threw a boot at her, before allegedly “passing out” in the plane toilet.
However the actor insists he was “sketching” during the flight and denies being drunk.
Mr Depp is suing The Sun and its executive editor over an article which alleged he had been abusive to his former wife Ms Heard.
He denies claims of domestic abuse and insists Ms Heard was the "aggressor" during their relationship, which ended in May 2016.
In another alleged incident due to feature in the civil trial, Mr Wolanski said Mr Depp is accused of “hitting Ms Heard so hard her blood from her lip ended up on the wall”.
The court heard he sent her a text the following day, in March 2013, referring to a “disco bloodbath and a hideous moment”.
However Mr Depp says the text was to “placate Ms Heard”, the barrister told the court, adding that the actor also denies that he once tried to set fire to a painting after a bust-up.
Mr Wolanski revealed the texts as he told the court Mr Depp’s previous solicitors had shared 70,000 messages with the newspaper’s legal team in an accidental blunder.
He said the texts to Mr Bettany had been among the cache which were accidentally sent and were clearly relevant to the case, but had not been among the messages properly disclosed by Mr Depp’s team.
“We are worried there are more and he just hasn’t tried to find them”, said Mr Wolanski.
“We want to know what steps he has taken to track them down. These texts go to the very heart of the case, they are really very important and set out the claimant’s thinking in respect of a number of different incidents and his recollection.”
Mr Wolanski said the libel trial will also explore Mr Depp’s use of drugs and alleged alcohol abuse, and steps he took to deal with these issues including checking himself into a detox facility in the Bahamas.
David Sherborne, representing Mr Depp, told the court this morning the case and the couple’s divorce has already attracted worldwide coverage, saying Ms Heard was responsible for airing a lot of the allegations against her former husband.
"There is such a contrast between the version of events that is provided by Ms Heard and that provided by Mr Depp.
"It is black and white. One person, one side, is lying, and one is not. Obviously, we say that it is Ms Heard (who is lying), Mr Depp is 100 per cent clear about that."
He referred to recordings of Ms Heard, 33, which recently came to light, in which she appears to discuss having been physically violent towards Mr Depp.
Mr Sherborne said that evidence "demonstrates in her own voice that she was not a victim of domestic abuse, but rather that she was the aggressor".
The libel trial has been set for March 23 and is expected to last for ten days.