Judge's ruling in Johnny Depp 'wife beater' case will be emotionally and financially devastating for star

ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner was present throughout the three-week case and gives her thoughts on what it all means

This judgement will be a devastating both emotionally and financially for Johnny Depp who claimed the High Court action would clear his name.

In fact the Judge, Mr Justice Andrew Nicol, has found decisively for his ex-wife, Amber Heard, and accepts that calling the Pirates of the Caribbean star "a wife beater" was substantially true. 

In his 129 page judgement delivered electronically on Monday, he said that he finds Ms Heard's legal team have proved the "great majority of the alleged assaults".

During the trial in July and August, Amber Heard relied on 14 separate incidents in which she claimed that Depp had beaten or assaulted her during their fiery relationship. 

Of particular note, Mr Justice Nicol finds that she did not inflict the injury which led to Johnny Depp's finger being sliced off during a three-day drug and drink fuelled binge in Australia and that in his opinion it is "unlikely" that Ms Heard or one of her friends defecated on Depp's bed. 

In libel cases it is not necessary to reach the same level of proof as in the criminal courts.

It is only necessary to convince the judge that "on the balance of probabilities" The Sun newspaper - and remember it was News Group Newspapers and not Amber Heard who were  being sued in this case - were substantially telling the truth when they said that Johnny Depp had been violent to his former wife on at least one occasion. 

The judge found it 'unlikely' that Amber Heard or one of her friends defecated on Johnny Depp's bed. Credit: PA

It's clear from Monday's ruling that they were able to persuade Mr Justice Nicol that this was indeed the case.  

Johnny Depp's legal team argued that the incidents of alleged domestic abuse were all part of "a hoax" that Ms Heard had fabricated to destroy her former husband's reputation. 

This too was dismissed by the judge.

He said he does not accept the characterisation of Amber Heard as "a gold digger" and that if anything this legal action will have had a "negative effect" on her career. 

He places considerable weight on the text that Mr Depp sent to a friend, Christian Carino, in 2016 which he begins with the words: "She's begging for total global humiliations. She's gonna get it," followed by a series of extremely abusive threats.

The judge found Amber Heard's legal team had proved 'the great majority of the alleged assaults' by Johnny Depp. Credit: PA

Amber Heard's team have responded by saying they are "not surprised" by today's judgement and indicating that they are confident that they will win again when the next court battle between these two takes place in the US next year. 

That case has even higher stakes and follows an opinion piece in The Washington Post in which Amber Heard talked about being a survivor of domestic abuse without naming Johnny Depp.

He is suing her for $50 million (£38.7 million) for defamation and she is counter suing him for $100 million (£77 million).

We don't yet know how much the London case has cost Mr Depp but it may be most ruinous to his future prospects for work. 

He is currently working on Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them 3, a sequel to the Harry Potter series and very much aimed at a younger audience. 

There are now questions about his future in this kind of film and the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which are essentially aimed at children and could recoil at the idea of their star being characterised as a "wife beater".