- Johnny Depp’s house manager described finding the actor’s severed finger in a bloody paper towel.
- The fate of Depp’s right middle finger is a matter of dispute in his trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.
- Ben King said he packed it with ice and sent it to the hospital to get reattached.
Johnny Depp’s house manager testified at the actor’s defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard on Monday, testifying about finding his finger wrapped in a bloody paper towel on the floor of his house in Australia.
“There was a scrunched-up piece of kitchen paper with lots of blood on it,” Ben King, the manager, testified using a British term for paper towels. “So I thought that was probably a pretty good place to look.”
The fateful night that part of Depp’s right middle finger got chopped off has become a focal point of the trial. It happened on March 7, 2015, while Depp and Heard were living in a house on an island in Australia during the filming of the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.
The two had gotten into an argument — and it got violent.
How part of the finger ended up separated from the rest of the hand, exactly, is a point of dispute.
In court documents, Heard alleged Depp cut it off himself by “slamming a hard plastic phone against the wall.” King testified on Monday that he didn’t see any damaged phones the night he found the finger.
According to Depp, Heard threw a glass vodka bottle at him, which shattered on his hand and did the severing.
‘I felt as if something were dripping down my hand’
Depp sued Heard in March 2019, alleging she defamed him by describing herself as a victim of domestic violence in a Washington Post op-ed. The truth, according to Depp, is that Heard frequently physically and verbally abused him throughout their relationship up until their divorce in 2016.
Heard has denied the claims and countersued, alleging Depp often abused her while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She also alleged that the damage to Depp’s finger came at the tail of a three-day bender where he beat her multiple times.
Earlier in the trial, David Kipper, a doctor, and Debbie Lloyd, a nurse, both testified about the night of the missing finger. Depp hired the two to treat him for what he described as an opioid addiction he developed after being prescribed painkillers to deal with a leg injury.
After his finger was cut off, Depp texted Kipper.
“I cut the top of my middle finger off. What should I do? Except of course go to a hospital,” he wrote. “I’m so embarrassed for jumping into anything with her.”
Depp testified later in the trial that the text — as well as the stories Depp told other doctors about getting the finger cut on an accordion door — was told to avoid getting Heard into trouble. Other text messages suggesting he cut it off himself were jokes or exaggerations, he said. He also testified that he would never cut his own finger off because he loves playing the guitar too much.
“I honestly didn’t feel the pain at first, what I felt was heat, and I felt as if something were dripping down my hand,” Depp testified earlier in the trial, describing the experience. “Then I looked down and realized that the tip of my finger had been severed, and I was looking directly at my bones sticking out and the meaty portion of the inside of your finger.”
A bloody paper towel
King, testifying on Monday after Depp finished his own four-day stint on the stand, said he worked for Depp in 2015 and 2016. He said that he — like other members of Depp’s entourage — was staying at other houses a short distance away during the Australia trip. He arrived on the scene after Kipper had already sent Depp to the hospital.
“I spoke to David Kipper, who was in the kitchen area, seemingly rummaging through a bin,” King testified. “He said Mr. Depp had sustained an injury to his finger, one of his fingers, and he was looking for the fingertip that had been severed.”
King offered his help to find the finger and went downstairs to look for it. He observed the damage to the house — a chunk taken out of the marble staircase, a smashed potted plant, a collapsed ping pong table, and a lot of broken glass on the floor.
By the house’s “bar area,” he said, he found a bloody paper towel. Inside it was the tip of the middle finger from Depp’s right hand.
“It was within that scrunched-up piece of paper on the tiled floor at the end of the bar, the base of the bar, by one of the bar stools,” King testified.
Around the bar, King saw cans and art supplies strewn about and more wreckage, including another chunk taken out of the marble bar, broken mirrors everywhere, a cracked TV, and a perfectly good cream couch ruined by streaks of blood.
“On the floor, around the area, there were puddles of what smelled like alcohol to me,” King said. “There were seemed like several drinking glasses, and a couple of bottles, one was a Stolichnaya vodka bottle.”
King also said he found “other bodily fluids” in the mess but did not elaborate.
King said he shouted “I found it!” after finding the finger and went upstairs with the finger and put it in a plastic bag with ice. He handed the container to Kipper and one of Depp’s bodyguards, who drove it to the hospital to see if it could be reattached, he said.
Heard, King said, was “hysterical” that night. He volunteered to fly with her back to her home in Los Angeles, and the two left Australia the next day, he said.
King then flew back to the house in Australia where he led the cleanup operation and worked with contractors to “get the house back to what it was originally,” he said.
Depp, meanwhile, saw a specialist in Australia who helped reassemble his finger. Since his hand was bandaged, Disney visual effects artists used computer-generated imagery to make it look like he had a “normal finger” in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which was released in 2017, he testified.
Eventually, both Depp and Heard returned to the house as Depp continued filming the movie. The couple was “pleasant, almost honeymoon-like,” King said.
And then, he said, they started arguing again.