Rebekah Vardy tells court she did not leak stories about Coleen Rooney
Independent TV

Wayne Rooney is expected to enter the witness box as the “Wagatha Christie” libel trial starts to draw to a close.

In a viral social media post in October 2019, Coleen Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a “sting operation” and accused Rebekah Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press.

The wife of the former England star publicly claimed an account behind three fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper was Vardy’s.

Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, repeatedly denied leaking information to newspapers, telling the court: “I have been called a leaker and it’s not nice.”

Vardy is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.

Ros Atkins has since shared a clip on Twitter that perfectly sums up the scandal in six minutes.

You can watch it here:

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Rooney's husband is expected to give his own evidence ahead of the now-expected end of the trial on Thursday.

At the end of Rooney's evidence on Monday, the mother-of-four was asked about the aftermath of her “reveal” post and Vardy’s response.

Vardy's barrister Hugh Tomlinson said: “She makes it clear to you that it wasn’t her, doesn’t she?”

“She says she has zero interest in what’s going on in my life, which I believe is totally untrue,” Rooney replied. “She talks about me a lot… so that was a lie,” she added.

Rooney then discussed WhatsApp messages the court had heard between Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt – in which Mrs Rooney featured.

She said she had never met or spoken to Watt, commenting on the agent’s exchanges with Vardy: “The messages that went on between them were just evil and uncalled for.”

“There’s no need for it, I’ve never done anything to them,” Rooney added.

She later said she had a lot of people contacting her immediately after the post, and Tomlinson said people online were calling her “Wagatha Christie”.

She responded: “Yeah, which I just think is ridiculous.

“I got a lot of people sending me pictures, screenshots and obviously people didn’t realise how serious what was behind it was.

“I felt it was hard and people I trusted and people I had let into my circle were going against me.”

She added: “I have never spoke about this until this case, so I haven’t dwelt on it, to be honest with you I have hated every minute of it.”

Earlier in the trial, Tomlinson QC said Vardy had to bring the libel claim to “vindicate her reputation”.

The written submissions said: “The allegation in the post was and remains false: Mrs Vardy had not leaked information about Mrs Rooney or her friends and family to The Sun newspaper from her private Instagram account.

“Mrs Rooney did not have the ‘irrefutable’ evidence that she claimed to have had: her so-called ‘careful investigation’ was nothing of the sort.

“If anyone had been leaking information from Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram this was not done with Mrs Vardy’s knowledge or approval.”

Summing up Rooney’s case, Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne said it was “a detective story”.

“Like any good detective story, you never find a person standing over the body with a smoking gun,” he said, arguing there was “inference”.

He told Justice Steyn: “You do not have to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt, you just have to conclude that it is more likely than not that Mrs Vardy was responsible, either directly or through Ms (Caroline – Mrs Vardy’s friend and agent) Watt.”

Sherborne described what he called a series of “most improbable events” that had affected the disclosure of evidence in the case from Vardy and those around her.

This included Watt’s “poor unfortunate phone” falling into the North Sea “within days” of the court ordering that, even though she was not a party to proceedings, it should be searched for disclosure.

However, Tomlinson said the suggestion that Vardy and Watt were involved in a “conspiracy” and “campaign of deletion” in relation to evidence in the case is “completely baseless”.

He also told the court that it had not been suggested “that Mrs Vardy was anywhere near the North Sea at the time” Watt’s phone fell into the water, nor that she “knew anything about it”.

Rooney is defending the claim on the basis of truth and public interest.

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