Rebekah Vardy loses libel Wagatha Christie trial against Coleen Rooney

·3-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Rebekah Vardy has lost the libel court battle against Coleen Rooney.

The trial, dubbed 'Wagatha Christie', started after Rooney accused Vardy of leaking false stories about her to the press.

Vardy vehemently denied the claims and sued for libel, saying the allegations meant she suffered "very serious harm to her reputation".

Today, judge Mrs Justice Steyn published her ruling, saying it was "likely" Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt had passed information to The Sun newspaper.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

"I have found that Ms Vardy was party to the disclosure to The Sun," she said in her ruling.

"Ms Vardy knew of and condoned this behaviour, actively engaging in it by directing Ms Watt to the Private Instagram Account, sending her screenshots of Ms Rooney's posts, drawing attention to items of potential interest to the press, and answering additional queries raised by the press via Ms Watt."

Her ruling continued: "It was evident that Mrs Vardy found the process of giving evidence stressful and, at times, distressing.

"I bear in mind when assessing her evidence the degree of stress she was naturally feeling, given the high-profile nature of the trial, the abuse that she has suffered since the reveal post was published, and the length of time she was in the witness box.

"Nevertheless, I find that it is, unfortunately, necessary to treat Mrs Vardy's evidence with very considerable caution.

"There were many occasions when her evidence was manifestly inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence, e.g. in relation to the World Cup 2018 and the photoshopped pictures, and others where she was evasive."

Mrs Justice Steyn continued: "Mrs Vardy was generally unwilling to make factual concessions, however implausible her evidence.

"This inevitably affects my overall view of her credibility, although I have borne in mind that untruthful evidence may be given to mask guilt or to fortify innocence."

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

In 2019, Rooney announced on social media that she had become suspicious someone was leaking stories about her.

To find out who it was, she blocked everyone but one person from viewing her Instagram stories, and posted false information to see if it turned up in the press.

"I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them," she wrote at the time.

"It's......... Rebekah Vardy's account."

In a statement to PA following the publication of Mrs Justice Steyn's ruling in the case, Rooney added: "Naturally, I am pleased that the judge has found in my favour with her judgement today.

"It was not a case I ever sought or wanted. I never believed it should have gone to court at such expense in times of hardship for so many people when the money could have been far better spent helping others.

Photo credit: Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency - Getty Images
Photo credit: Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency - Getty Images

"Both before and after my social media posts in October 2019, I made every effort to avoid the need for such a drawn out and public court case. All my attempts to do so were knocked back by Mrs [Rebekah] Vardy.

"This left me with no alternative but to go through with the case to defend myself and to end the repeated leaking of my private information to The Sun.

"These leaks from my private Instagram account began in 2017. They continued for almost two years, intruding on my privacy and that of my family. Although I bear Mrs Vardy no ill-will, today's judgment makes clear that I was right in what I said in my posts of October 2019.

"Finally, I would like to thank all of my legal team, my family, friends and everyone who supported me, including the public, through this difficult and stressful time."

Vardy is yet to comment on the judge's ruling.

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