Amber Heard was 'repeatedly told it would be illegal to take her dogs to Australia'

15 July 2020, 18:28

Amber Heard leaving the high court on Wednesday
Amber Heard leaving the high court on Wednesday. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Amber Heard was "repeatedly" told it would be illegal for her to take her two dogs with her to Australia, a former Johnny Depp employee has claimed.

Kevin Murphy, who worked for the Pirates Of The Caribbean star for almost eight years, alleged Ms Heard, 34, "demanded" he make a false statement about the animals being "smuggled" into the country.

He also claimed Ms Heard asked him to contact her former assistant, Kate James, and ask her to "lie under oath" to an Australian court.

In October 2015, Ms Heard faced criminal proceedings in Australia for taking the couple's two Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country illegally.

She and Mr Depp, 57, recorded a now infamous video in 2016 apologising for doing so.

Amber Heard previously faced two counts of breaching Australia's quarantine laws after allegedly bringing the couple's dogs Pistol and Boo into the country on a private jet
Amber Heard previously faced two counts of breaching Australia's quarantine laws after allegedly bringing the couple's dogs Pistol and Boo into the country on a private jet. Picture: PA

In a written witness statement submitted as part of Mr Depp's libel case against News Group Newspapers (NGN), Mr Murphy, who worked as an estate manager for the Hollywood actor until 2016, claimed that on October 11 and 12, 2015, Ms Heard asked him to contact Ms James and "ask Ms James to lie under oath to the Australian court prosecuting Ms Heard".

He said: "Specifically, Ms Heard wanted Ms James to give a false statement that Ms Heard was unaware that it would be illegal for her to bring her dogs into Australia.

"Ms Heard was aware that this was illegal, because I had informed her repeatedly by email, telephone and in person."

Mr Murphy alleged he had told Ms Heard he was "uncomfortable" with giving a false statement to the court and that "he would not ask Ms James to do so".

In his written statement, Mr Murphy also said that shortly after this, Ms Heard "demanded verbally that I myself make a false witness statement regarding the dogs' illegal entrance into Australia".

He said: "I expressed that I was extremely uncomfortable with doing so, to which Ms Heard responded with words to the effect of: 'Well I want your help on this ... I wouldn't want you to have a problem with your job'.

"Ms Heard's threatening language made me feel anxious and uneasy.

"As stated above, I had instructed Ms Heard on a number of occasions by email, telephone and in person that she could not take the dogs to Australia because the relevant paperwork and permits were not complete and the required ten-day quarantine arrangements had not been put in place."

Mr Murphy claimed he told Ms Heard the penalties for taking animals into Australia without following the correct procedures "could be severe".

In a second witness statement, Mr Murphy said he was "shocked" to learn that Ms Heard had taken the dogs to Australia, "despite our discussions and my warnings of severe legal ramifications".

He alleged that he co-operated with Ms Heard's request to provide her with a statement supporting her account for the Australian authorities, saying: "I felt extreme pressure to co-operate, despite knowing this would involve being untruthful."

Mr Murphy said that on October 13, 2015, he signed a declaration on the circumstances in which the dogs were taken into Australia, claiming this was prepared by Ms Heard's US lawyer.

"That declaration contained statements that were not entirely truthful," he said.

Mr Murphy said in his written statement that in May 2016, after Ms Heard filed for divorce from Mr Depp, he sought legal advice over the declaration and retracting it.

"I felt I could take this step at this time because Ms Heard no longer had control or influence over my job," he said. "This was my attempt to right a wrong."

Johnny Depp outside court on Wednesday
Johnny Depp outside court on Wednesday. Picture: PA

Earlier today, Johnny Depp's former estate manager has claimed Amber Heard would regularly drink "two bottles of wine a night".

Ben King, who worked as Johnny Depp's estate manager in Australia, London and Vancouver, Canada for three separate periods between 2014 and 2016, was the first witness to be called in the libel trial on Wednesday.

He told the court that Depp “had been a drinker” when he was first hired in London in 2014, but was told the actor was in recovery and not drinking alcohol at the time.

He said he saw “a relatively large number of cases of wine” at the property Depp was staying at with then-wife Heard in London.

Sasha Wass QC, representing The Sun's publisher News Group Newspapers, asked Mr King about his second witness statement - filed on Monday - and which said that Amber Heard "drank two bottles of wine a night and was taking medication".

Ms Wass said: "When you arrived at the house were Mr Depp and Ms Heard were staying in London, there was a relatively large number of cases of wine that had been brought to the house and you found that strange."

The barrister also said: "You reached the conclusion that Ms Heard drank two bottles of wine a night."

Mr King replied: "Not every night... it was a regular occurrence, but not every night."

Ms Wass asked how he knew only Amber Heard was drinking the wine, to which Mr King said he would only see one glass in the morning.

Mr King added: "I'm quite sure for the time I was there in the house (that Mr Depp was not drinking)."

During the questioning, Ms Wass also asked if he was: "Counting the bottles of wine."

Mr King said he had kept "a mental tally, just in case I needed to restock".

An email was shown in court Kate James claims was sent to her by Amber Heard about her dogs' medical records
An email was shown in court Kate James claims was sent to her by Amber Heard about her dogs' medical records. Picture: PA

Depp, 57, is currently suing the Sun's publishers, News Group Newspapers, after the star was dubbed a ‘wife beater’ in a 2018 article by executive editor Dan Wootton.

Heard, 34, claims she was subjected to repeated bouts of violence fuelled by drink and drugs, but Depp denies all the claims.

Tomorrow, Johnny Depp's ex-fiance Winona Ryder will give evidence.

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