Wagatha Christie latest: Coleen Rooney says her social media post was ‘last resort’

·21-min read
Wagatha Christie latest: Coleen Rooney says her social media post was ‘last resort’

Coleen Rooney took the witness stand on Friday after Rebekah Vardy concluded her evidence on day four of the ‘Wagatha Christie’ High Court libel trial.

Vardy, 40, broke down again on Friday as she said she felt “bullied and manipulated” after more than three gruelling days of cross-examination.

Asked by her barrister Hugh Tomlinson after giving evidence, Vardy said: “Exhausting, intimidating. I feel like I have been bullied and manipulated.”

Asked why she considered the libel claim, Vardy held back tears as she replied: “I didn’t do anything wrong and I wanted to clear my name, not just for me but for my family and my children.”

Earlier in the day, Vardy said she had instructed her agent, Caroline Watts, not to leak a story about a married footballer having an affair and getting a woman pregnant, while the Wag also apologised to Peter Andre following a previous remark regarding his manhood.

Rooney, who is fighting the libel claim and must prove that her accusations against Vardy were true on the balance of probabilities, is expected to be the first witness in her case, with husband Wayne also set to give evidence.

Court proceedings finished for the day

16:58 , Michael Howie

Court proceedings have concluded for the day.

Coleen Rooney is set to continue giving evidence from 10.30am on Monday.

Join us again for more live updates.

‘I don’t understand why the press are interested in most things’, says Rooney

16:55 , Elly Blake

Rooney says she does not use the term ‘WAG’ and tells the High Court she’s never fallen out with any other wives and girlfriends of Wayne’s teammates.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Vardy, referred “Wags” in his questioning, and when Rooney said “wives and girlfriends” the barrister suggested the term is “very disrespectful”.

“It’s not disrespectful”, said Rooney. “It’s just a word I don’t use.”

Rooney was questioned about why she suspected Vardy as a leak from her private Instagram account, with Mr Tomlinson highlighting that she had around 300 followers.

“There was no one else on my Instagram that added up to being in the position to pass this private information over to The Sun”, said Rooney.

She said fellow WAGs Leanne Brown and Dawn Ward had been friends since she was a teenager.

“I’ve been in their social circle many many times, and information more important that could have been leaked has never been leaked.

“I’ve been in the circle for 19 years, and I’ve never fallen out with any of these people.

“I have never had a falling out with another wife or girlfriend, or any of the partners of Wayne’s friends.”

Questioned about her suspicions about Vardy, Rooney said: “My view was she wanted to be kept relevant within the press, within the public eye. I felt like Mrs Vardy, what she got back from giving my Instagram posts, was to be kept in The Sun newspaper regularly and enjoying press attention.”

She added: “I’ve got nothing wrong with whatever Mrs Vardy wants to do, as long as it’s got nothing to do with me.”

Coleen Rooney also commented on media interest in her life: “I don’t understand why the press are interested in most things. I wouldn’t want to read the stuff they write about me.

“I think most of it is ridiculous.”

She laughs, as Vardy’s barrister replies: “That’s maybe something we can agree on.”

Rooney will continue her evidence on Monday morning.

Coleen Rooney says she didn’t have a close relationship with Vardy

16:35 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rooney said she did not have a close personal relationship with Vardy, and “also knew that she had a very close relationship with the media so I thought that if I confronted her privately then she would probably just try to explain it away or pretend to be my friend and supportive (as she had done before) and then spin the narrative publicly”, writes Courts correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

“I was also fuming at the time,” Rooney added.

“That evening, on 8 October 2019, I uploaded a post to the Private Instagram Account with a quote which said ‘Don’t play games with a girl who can play better’ with the caption ‘One thing I am not is stupid…much wiser than you think’.

Describing the public revelation at the heart of the libel battle, Rooney said: “By late-evening on 8 October 2019, I had decided that I was going to make an announcement the following morning.

“I drafted something on pen and paper in the evening ready to be posted the next day. “Wayne was in the US at the time so it was just me and the kids in the house. I didn’t speak to him about it.”

‘I am confident it was Rebekah’ says Coleen Rooney

16:30 , Bill Mcloughlin

Coleen Rooney wrote her infamous ‘Wagatha Christie’ expose out with pen and paper the night before she posted it on social media, having kept her sleuthing a secret from husband Wayne for months, writes Courts correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

She said a story in The Sun about a flooded basement at their new home – after she had posted a fake story on her private Instagram feed which was only viewed by Vardy’s account – had left her “fuming”.

“I now felt absolutely confident that it was Becky’s Instagram Account that was responsible for leaking information from the Private Instagram Account to The Sun”, she said.

“I had made it abundantly clear that I was unhappy about the leaks and they continued regardless. I took the view that enough warning had already been given and decided to go public.”

Rooney insists Rebekah Vardy’s account is behind leaked stories

16:04 , Bill Mcloughlin

Asserting her case that Vardy’s account was behind the leaks, Rooney said: “I believe it’s come from that account, that’s what I’ve said from the beginning, and I believe Mrs Vardy knew that was happening, whether it was Mrs Vardy herself or someone given permission to be on my account and pass information on.” - writes Courts correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

Mr Tomlinson argued: “You don’t have any evidence to link Mrs Vardy to the leaking of this material.”

And in a reference to husband Wayne’s football team, the barrister added: “What you believe isn’t evidence. You may believe Derby County will win the Premiership in 2 years’ time, but it’s not evidence they are going to.”

A post by Rooney when she was in America, about an crash between the Honda she was driving and a lorry, has featured heavily in the case.

In the Instagram update, which Vardy is accused of leaking to The Sun, Rooney refers to the vehicle as “half a Honda”.

“When I got to America, they said Wayne’s football team is sponsored by Audi and we will give you an Audi Q7 for the time you are here”, said Rooney.

“It was a spacious car, I’ve got four kids, but the wait for the Audi was going on for ever and ever. That was the joke about the Honda, I didn’t enjoy driving it, and it wasn’t the car I was supposed to have. I’m not snobby, it’s just it wasn’t the car I was supposed to have.”

Rooney quizzed over allegation Vardy sat behind her for coverage during Euro 2016

15:31 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rooney was questioned about an allegation that Rebekah Vardy sat behind her at a Euro 2016 match to ensure she was in paparazzi pictures, and initially dismissed the idea as “a load of nonsense”, writes Courts correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

“When I sat down I remember Paul Stretford saying to me there’s been a bit of a mix-up with the seats and Rebekah Vardy sat behind you so she would get photographs taken so she is in the press”, she said of the Wales – England match.

“I thought that was a load of nonsense, something I thought wouldn’t have happen. I didn’t even take that on board, I forgot all about that.”

But Rooney said the matter was raised again in 2018, when she was suspecting a leak from her Instagram account and came across FA family liaison officer Harpreet Robertson at a football match.

Rooney said she asked about the 2018 World Cup, at which Rooney was absent but Vardy attended to support her husband Jamie.

“She said it was OK, we missed you lot, but it was hard work with Rebekah Vardy”, said Rooney, of the conversation with Ms Robertson.

Rebekah Vardy on why she suspected Rooney

15:16 , Bill Mcloughlin

In her witness statement, Rooney said: “I came to the conclusion that the account responsible clearly had a relationship with The Sun and its journalists because it was only The Sun that was printing the ‘Exclusive‘ articles based upon information from my Private Instagram Account.”

As she continued, Rooney pointed to a number of factors which pushed her to the conclusion: “I knew that Becky often featured prominently in ‘Exclusive’ articles with The Sun which covered a wide range of topics about her own personal life. I always got the impression that no topic was ever really off the table as far as Becky was concerned.

“It is plainly obvious that she has maintained a very close relationship with the tabloid press, in particular, with The Sun and, in particular, between 2017 and 2019 during the period in which information from my Private Instagram Account was being leaked to The Sun.”

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of  Coleen Rooney, watched by her husband Wayne (PA)
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Coleen Rooney, watched by her husband Wayne (PA)

‘I hate gossip’ says Coleen Rooney

14:52 , Bill Mcloughlin

Coleen Rooney said she “hates gossip” and only accused Rebekah Vardy of being a leak because she was sure she had the right culprit, writes Courts correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

“I thought a lot about this, I’ve been in the public eye for 20 years and become quite savvy to the way people work and the way journalists work. I hate gossip, I’m not a gossip. I don’t like to say things unless I know it’s true.

“I don’t like that done about me. That’s my motto and I don’t do that. It all added up that it came from this account and that is why I have done what I’ve done.”

Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Vardy, pointed out that model Abbey Clancy, wife of former Spurs striker Peter Crouch, had once made public a post that Rooney had put up on her private Instagram account.

Rooney said Clancy quickly got in touch to apologise and offer to take down her post.

“She did realise when she had done that”, said Rooney, who decided not to ask for the material to be remove as it was not particularly private.

“She actually messaged me and said I’m so sorry.”

Rooney ‘knocked sick’ over messages referring to sister

14:44 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rooney says she was “knocked sick” when shown messages between Vardy and agent Caroline Watt which referenced her late sister Rosie, writes Courts correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

In the course of the legal dispute, messages have been aired which show Vardy’s reaction to being blocked as a follower.

She was accused yesterday of contemplating using the anniversary of Rooney’s sister’s death as a “peg” to get in touch to find out why she was blocked.

“While they were discussing her messaging me in order to cover her tracks, Becky says to Caroline Watt ‘maybe I should say something about Rosie’,” said Rooney in her witness statement.

“Rosie is a reference to my sister who suffered with Rett Syndrome and passed away in 2013 at the age of just 14.

“The mere fact that Becky would suggest seeking to use Rosie’s name in conversation with me in order to put me off the scent of suspecting Becky as the person responsible for leaking my private information to The Sun is really low and sad. It actually knocked me sick when I read that message from Becky to Caroline.”

Court breaks for lunch

13:25 , Josh Salisbury

The court has broken for lunch, and is expected to resume in around an hour’s time.

Coleen opens up about 2017 marriage troubles with Wayne

13:13 , Josh Salisbury

Coleen Rooney opened up about her 2017 marriage troubles with Wayne in the wake of the footballer’s arrest for drink-driving, writes Courts correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

It had been reported that another woman was in the car with him, and Rooney told the court today: “My relationship with my husband, there had been a situation. It was wrongdoing by my husband

“I was in a vulnerable position.”

She said they were trying to work out their difficulties privately at the time.

“I didn’t know how my marriage was going to work out, whether I was going on with my relationship. We needed to try and work things out”, she said.

“I moved back into the house, I was spending a lot of time at my parents’ house.”

On her private Instagram account, which has a select group of around 300 followers of close friends and family, Rooney posted an image of Wayne at home with their children in bed with matching pyjamas.

Rooney said she did not want the image to be made public, but it was allegedly leaked to The Sun by Rebekah Vardy.

“Me and Wayne was trying to figure out our relationship, trying to see where things were going”, she said.

“I didn’t want the public to know that. I hadn’t settled on ‘this is it, we are getting back together’.

“I kept it to my close circle, but the posts got given to The Sun and The Sun published it.”

Coleen Rooney says she did not intend to cause harm over her bombshell post

13:05 , Bill Mcloughlin

Coleen Rooney said she did not intent Rebekah Vardy to suffer online abuse when she made the “Wagatha Christie” bombshell post, and said she was “surprised” by the international interest it generated, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

Breaking her silence on the Wag war scandal for the first time in the witness box at the High Court, Rooney said: “What I wanted was to stop the person who was leaking my private information to The Sun.”

“I gave out a warning it didn’t stop and this was my last resort. I was surprised myself how much interest it caused.”

Facing questions from Vardy’s barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, that she had been “happy” for Vardy to face abuse, Rooney said: “I would never wish abuse upon anyone. I’ve had it myself, it’s not nice, and I would never let anyone get abused on my behalf.”

When Mr Tomlinson suggested “that’s what happened”, Rooney said: “It was not intended, at all. It’s not in my nature to cause abuse or trolling in any way at all”, she added.

Asked for the reason behind the post at the heart of the case, she said: “I was upset that my personal information was getting passed on to a newspaper. I have put up for years and years with stories that get wrote. This was different, it was a group of people I had accepted into my personal space. They were then going to a national newspaper which goes out to millions and giving my personal information without my consent.”

Coleen Rooney begins evidence

12:31 , Bill Mcloughlin

Coleen Rooney has begun her evidence on day four of the trial.

Rebekah Vardy says she feels “bullied and manipulated” after cross-examination

12:25 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rebekah Vardy says she feels “bullied and manipulated” after more than three gruelling days of cross-examination at the High Court, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

Vardy issued a string of denials about leaking stories as her evidence concluded, insisting she had never passed private information on Rooney to journalists at The Sun newspaper.

Asked by her barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC how she had found giving evidence at the libel trial, Vardy said: “Exhausting, intimidating. I feel like I have been bullied and manipulated.”

Vardy said she considered a letter from Rooney’s legal solicitors during the proceedings, asking for the retention of messages on her electronic devices, as a “threat”.

Asked why she had considered making the libel claim, Vardy held back tears as she replied: “I didn’t do anything wrong and I wanted to clear my name, not just for me but for my family and my children.”

Wayne Rooney dismissed story about Rebekah Vardy as a ‘load of b******s’, court told

12:00 , Bill Mcloughlin

Wayne Rooney dismissed a news story suggesting he had told Jamie Vardy off about his wife’s behaviour at Euro 2016 as “a load of b*****s”, Rebekah Vardy told the High Court, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

Vardy has been accused of deliberately sitting behind Rooney at a match to get paparazzi coverage – an allegation she denies – while one of her entourage is said to have told an FA official “to f*** off” told to move to their allocated seats.

A news story appeared during the tournament, suggesting England captain Rooney had been forced to talk to fellow striker Jamie about his wife’s behaviour.

“Jamie was quite angry, actually, and he currently still is”, she told the court.

“That conversation never took place. I had a conversation with Mr Rooney on FaceTime about it as well. I asked him about it and he basically said it was a load of bollocks.”

She added: “I thought the media were trying to cause problems, stir up trouble, make unnecessary drama, and create a scenario that just wasn’t existing and didn’t exist.”

Rebekah Vardy says she instructed agent not to leak affair story

11:34 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rebekah Vardy claimed she instructed her agent not to leak a story about a married footballer having an affair and getting a woman pregnant, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

In messages that have been aired in the High Court, Vardy was apparently concerned about being suspected by Coleen Rooney of leaking stories to Sun journalist Andy Halls.

She told agent Caroline Watt she did not know how Coleen “would ever know that unless Halls has leaked it, in which case please don’t give him the Mr X stuff” - the court was told Mr X is a married Premier League footballer engaged in an extramarital affair

“I was specifically saying ‘don’t discuss it’, I didn’t want anyone being passed on information”, Vardy said of the message.

She denied involvement in stories that subsequently appeared in the Daily Mail and Sun, and said Ms Watt had “absolutely not” been involved either.

Being questioned by her barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC, Vardy denied leaking news from inside the Leicester dressing room when Riyad Mahrez was agitating for a move to Manchester City. And she denied leaking a story about model Danielle Lloyd.

Vardy has accepted being prepared to leak news of footballer Danny Drinkwater’s drink drive arrest, saying: “Yes, for a moment I was”.

Rebekah Vardy apologises for Peter Andre remark

11:06 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rebekah Vardy apologised for the “chipolata” article about Peter Andre’s sexual prowess and told the High Court she reached out to the singer and his wife about the “shameful” News of the World spread, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

Giving evidence on the fourth day of her ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel battle, Vardy was questioned again about the 2004 article, in which she had insulted Andre’s manhood.

She claimed to have been “misrepresented” and earlier this week suggested she had been “forced” into the interview by her ex-husband.

“There’s a lot of things in there that didn’t come out of my mouth, that were misrepresented”, she said today, “and the circumstances around that article which I’m deeply sorry for and I apologise.”

“It’s shameful, reading that, and it is one of my biggest regrets.”

Adding that she was 22-years-old at the time, Vardy said she has not spoken directly to Andre but “I’ve sent both his wife and him personal messages a couple of years ago”.

Rebekah Vardy arrives in court

10:43 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rebekah Vardy arrives (PA)
Rebekah Vardy arrives (PA)
Rebekah Vardy (PA)
Rebekah Vardy (PA)

Recap: Vardy accused of having ‘selective amnesia'

10:09 , Bill Mcloughlin

On day three Vardy insisted she did not leak news of Coleen Rooney being involved in a car crash to a Sun journalist at the National Television Awards.

Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt exchanged WhatsApp messages after Rooney posted on her private Instagram about a Honda crash in Washington DC, with images of the vehicle “caved in”.

Ms Watt quizzed Vardy on the contents of the post, after it had been deleted, and the Wag recalled most of the caption as well as what the image showed.

Mr Sherborne said messages suggested they had tipped off Sun showbiz reporter Andy Halls about the incident when they were guests in the newspaper’s box at the 2019 awards ceremony.

“You and her had been telling Mr Halls about this at the NTAs when he was popping in and out”, he said.

Vardy replied: “It was openly being discussed by lots of individuals”, saying Rooney’s post was not a secret.

After continued questioning, Vardy said Andy Halls “may have been there but I don’t remember seeing him”, prompting Mr Sherborne to pull out a social media post by Vardy – including an image of her “stuffing my face with a burger” – in which she thanks the journalist personally for the invitation.

Mr Sherborne accused Vardy of having “selective amnesia” over whether she had Mr Halls’ phone number, suggesting she is trying to “distance herself” from the journalist and claimed she was delivering “rehearsed answers” to his questions.

Coleen Rooney arrives on day four

09:57 , Bill Mcloughlin

Coleen Rooney arrives (PA)
Coleen Rooney arrives (PA)
Coleen Rooney is set to give evidence today (PA)
Coleen Rooney is set to give evidence today (PA)

Recap: Vardy failed to challenge agent as she was ‘distracted’ by Dancing on Ice

09:39 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rebekah Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt told her “it was me” when Coleen Rooney publicly complained about stories being leaked from her private Instagram account.

Texts between Vardy and Ms Watt shows the agent was discussing an incident when Rooney’s car was damaged, and a story appeared in The Sun which said Rooney had been involved in a crash.

Vardy told the court she believed The Sun already knew about the crash and Ms Watt “wasn’t passing on any new information”.

After the story was published, Rooney took to her public Instagram to correct it: “Thank you for the messages asking if I am ok, the car crash story was completely wrong.

“I wasn’t involved in a crash the car was damaged by another car. Someone on my private Instagram seen the picture and is telling or selling stories to a certain newspaper.”

Afterwards, Ms Watt and Vardy discuss the correction, and the agent makes the comment: “It wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me.”

Asked why she did not challenge her agent’s statement, Vardy said she had been distracted by TV programme Dancing on Ice and was bathing her children.

“I have seen the conversation that follows, and without wanting to make fun of anyone, it was Dancing on Ice and Gemma Collins face-planting on the ice which was the next message. That was what I had on when I was bathing the children.”

Recap: What did we learn on day three of the trial?

09:22 , Bill Mcloughlin

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of day four of the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial.

Proceedings are due to commence at 10.30am and here is a recap of the main points from day three.

Vardy faced a grilling over claims she had “orchestrated” a picture of her and fellow Wags outside a restaurant in St Petersburg during the 2018 World Cup.

David Sherborne, for Rooney, showed the court a lengthy WhatsApp exchange between Vardy and her agent during the evening in 2018.

Vardy texted to say she had ensured that fellow Wags went outside, where they had encountered a paparazzo.

In one of the messages, she tells Ms Watt: “F***, made everyone go outside for a pic and the pap was there. Looks like I tipped him off now.

“Girls have asked me to put it on Insta, so quick, get them out - they want me to put it up before the pap puts his in! I’ve bought about 10 mins.”

Mr Sherborne suggested she was worried the Wags would post their own pictures on social media, revealing they were together in the restaurant that night, which would “deprive you of the exclusive”.

Vardy denied that was the case, and suggested it was actually Annie Kilner, the wife of England fullback Kyle Walker, who had suggested they go outside.

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