How an 18th Century chimney sweep could help Coleen Rooney to win Rebekah Vardy libel trial

How an 18th Century chimney sweep could help Coleen Rooney to win Rebekah Vardy libel trial
Coleen Rooney arrives at High Court for the start of the ‘Wagatha ...

As the “Wagatha Christie” trial comes to an end today, lawyers for both Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney are summarising their client’s cases in closing arguments.

The dramatic libel case which was brought by Vardy after Rooney accused her of leaking stories about her to the press in a bombshell tweet.

With the phone of Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt, which may have held significant evidence, having “regrettably” fallen into the North Sea, Rooney’s case is missing the smoking gun needed to unequivocally prove her claims.

But, instead, her lawyers are relying on the precedent set during an 18th-century court case involving a chimney sweep.

The Guardian media journalist Jim Waterson explained that the 1722 Armory v Delamirie case came about when a chimney sweep found a piece of jewellery in a fireplace and took it to get valued – but, the jeweller valuing the piece surreptitiously removed the stones.

Waterson wrote: “The 1722 legal ruling set a precedent that if the court can tell that evidence is missing, then the assumption should be that what is missing is of the highest possible value that would fit the hole.

“Rooney’s lawyers argue this precedent applies just as much in a case involving a missing gem in a piece of 18th century jewellery as it does in the case of missing WhatsApp messages sent by a footballer’s wife.”

Rooney’s barrister alleged during closing arguments that Vardy’s agent’s phone falling into the sea was “far from an accident” and was part of an effort to “cover up incriminating evidence”.

Waterson reports that Vardy’s barrister said his client would have to be “very clever or very cynical” to have intentionally gotten rid of evidence.

In a tweet, Waterson claimed: “He appears to be arguing she is neither.”

As the dramatic trial comes to an end, here is a six-minute roundup of the scandal that has gripped the nation.

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