By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
Amber Heard endured multiple acts of violence and sexual abuse at the hands of Johnny Depp, a forensic psychologist has said.
Dr Dawn Hughes said that the acts of sexual violence, which she graphically detailed to the court, were often a result of the actor’s “drug fuelled rage”.
Mr Depp is suing his former partner for libel over a 2018 article she wrote in The Washington Post, which his lawyers say falsely implies he physically and sexually abused her.
The actor has denied all accusations of abuse against his former partner.
Dr Hughes, an expert on interpersonal violence and traumatic stress, said multiple incidents had occurred in which Mr Depp had “penetrated” Ms Heard in “moments of dominance”.
The court heard that Dr Hughes had interviewed Ms Heard multiple times for a total of 29 hours, in which the Aquaman star had reported multiple incidents of violence to her.
“There was a number of incidents of sexual violence reported in this relationship,” she said.
“These are documented early on…where when Mr Depp was drunk or high he threw her on the bed, ripped off her nightgown and tried to have sex with her.
“There were times when he forced her to give him oral sex when he was angry, these weren’t in loving moments they were angry moments, moments of dominance, moments of him trying to get control over her.”
Dr Hughes then described multiple instances of sexual violence to the court, including one where the actor had performed a “cavity search” of Ms Heard in an attempt to look for drugs.
“These incidents often happened in a drug-fuelled rage,” she said.
Dr Hughes said an incident in Australia in March 2015 was “one of the most severe instances of sexual violence that Ms Heard had to endure”.
“When he was beating her and choking her and telling her ‘I’m going to fucking kill you…I hate you’…when he grabbed a bottle that was on the bar and penetrated her with that bottle,” she said.
She added that Ms Heard had later reported to her that she had gone “outside of her body” during the incident and thought “I hope it’s not the broken bottle”.
Ms Heard looked visibly distressed in the courtroom as the incidents were described.
Dr Hughes’ testimony contradicts previous testimony from Shannon Curry, a forensic psychologist hired by Mr Depp, who said Ms Heard had not shown signs of PTSD and had displayed signs of two personality disorders.
Dr Hughes also disputed that Ms Heard suffered from personality disorders.
She is the first witness to be brought by Ms Heard’s legal team, after Mr Depp’s lawyers rested their case earlier on Tuesday.
Ms Heard’s team applied to have the case dropped, but the motion was denied by judge Penney Azcarate, who said the standard for dismissing a case at this point in the trial was extremely high.
Ms Heard is also expected to take the stand in the trial, which is taking place at the Fairfax County District Courthouse in Virginia, and is expected to last a total of seven weeks.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the national 24-hour Rape Crisis Helpline at 1800 77 8888, access text service and webchat options at drcc.ie/services/helpline/, or visit Rape Crisis Help.
In the case of an emergency, always dial 999/112.