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Rebekah Vardy has lost her 'Wagatha Christie' libel case against Coleen Rooney.
Rebekah sued her fellow footballer's wife for libel in 2020 after Coleen claimed in an October 2019 Instagram post that Rebekah was leaking stories from her private Instagram account to The Sun newspaper.
A sensational trial took place at London's High Court over seven days in May and Mrs Justice Steyn delivered her verdict on Friday.
In her ruling, Mrs Justice Steyn dismissed Rebekah's claim. She declared that Coleen's Instagram post was "substantially true" and it was "likely" Rebekah's then-agent Caroline Watt "undertook the direct act" of passing information about Coleen's family to the press.
"The evidence... clearly shows, in my view, that Mrs Vardy knew of and condoned this behaviour, actively engaging in it by directing Ms Watt to the private Instagram account, sending her screenshots of Mrs Rooney's posts, drawing attention to items of potential interest to the press, and answering additional queries raised by the press via Ms Watt," she wrote in the ruling.
"In my judgment, the conclusions that I have reached as to the extent to which the claimant engaged in disclosing to the Sun information to which she only had access as a permitted follower of an Instagram account which she knew, and Mrs Rooney repeatedly asserted, was private, suffice to show the single meaning is substantially true."
During a pre-trial hearing, it was claimed that Caroline accidentally dropped her phone in the North Sea days after being ordered to hand it over as part of the case. She didn't give evidence during the trial due to medical reasons and the judge determined that the loss of copies of WhatsApp messages, allegedly between her and Vardy, was "deliberate rather than accidental".
In her original post, Wayne Rooney's wife explained that she planted fake stories on her private Instagram account and blocked all her followers from seeing her stories except one in order to confirm who was leaking the information.
"Now I know for certain which account/individual it's come from. I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It's.......... Rebekah Vardy's account," she wrote.
The tweet went viral and was dubbed the Wagatha Christie scandal, a play on words of famous mystery writer Agatha Christie and the term WAG, an acronym referring to the wives and girlfriends of sports stars.