Rebekah Vardy has lost her libel trial against Coleen Rooney

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Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Rebekah Vardy has lost her libel claim against Coleen Rooney in the high-profile case known across social media as “Wagatha Christie”.

The ruling by Ms Justice Steyn determined that it was "likely" that Vardy's agent Caroline Watt had passed on information from Rooney's private Instagram to the tabloid press.

The Ms Steyn said: "Nonetheless, 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."

The ruling comes after a seven-day trial that took place in the Royal Courts of Justice in May this year, during which both Rooney, 36, and Vardy, 40, gave evidence.

The case was brought by Vardy after Rooney staged a sting operation to determine who was the source of several stories that had been leaked about her in the tabloid press.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Rooney said she spent five months trying to find out who was the leak and began posting false stories on her personal Instagram account, gradually limiting the number of accounts able to view her posts. The fictitious stories included one about gender selection, one about a flood in Rooney’s basement that never happened and one about Rooney pretending she was planning to return to work in TV.

Rooney’s process of elimination plan eventually led her to conclude that the leak must have come from someone with access to Rebekah Vardy’s Instagram account.

On 9 October 2019, Rooney published the now infamous theory to social media, in which she said that someone she “had trusted” had been “consistently informing The Sun newspaper” about the contents of her private posts and stories.

“There has been so much information given to them about me, my friends and my family – all without my permission or knowledge,” Rooney wrote.

Rooney revealed she believed to have found the mole and had “saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them.

“It’s ……….Rebekah Vardy’s account.”

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Vardy denied the allegations, claiming that numerous people had access to her Instagram account and that Rooney’s post was an “untrue and unjustified defamatory attack”, suing Rooney for libel, but Rooney defended her post, saying the claims she made in it were “substantially true”.

The seven-day trial had social media hooked, with salacious details that came out in court, including text messages between Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt, in which the former appeared to call Rooney a “c**t” and a “stupid cow”; and descriptions of Peter Andre’s penis.

One of the most notable details of the High Court proceedings was that vital evidence was lost before the trial, specifically records of WhatsApp communication between Vardy and Watt. Vardy said that the messages had disappeared while being exported onto a laptop – which then broke and was thrown away. When the judge asked Watt to submit her phone for the messages to be taken into evidence, it was revealed that the phone had been lost in the North Sea.

Photo credit: Jean Catuffe - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jean Catuffe - Getty Images

Rooney’s lawyer, David Sherborne, described the loss of the tech items as “fishy” and said it “was done to cover up incriminating evidence.” But Vardy’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson dismissed this as a “conspiracy theory”.

Rooney’s husband, former England footballer Wayne Rooney; and Vardy’s husband, Leicester City player Jamie Vardy, attended the trial alongside them.

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