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Rebekah Vardy and her agent "monitored and stalked me", Coleen Rooney told the High Court, as she accused both women of sending "evil" messages about her.
Mrs Rooney, the wife of former England player Wayne Rooney, was giving evidence in the second week of the "Wagatha Christie" libel trial following her 2019 social media post which accused Mrs Vardy, the wife of Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, of leaking stories to the tabloid press.
Mrs Rooney, 36, told the court that Mrs Vardy, 40, and her agent, Caroline Watt, sent "evil and uncalled for" messages about her when they were discussing her private Instagram posts.
The court has previously heard that Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt, who is no longer involved in the legal proceedings due to ill health, exchanged lengthy Whatsapp messages in which Mrs Rooney was called a "nasty b----".
"There is no need to talk about me or my Instagram, especially with Caroline Watt," Mrs Rooney told the court.
"I don’t know what Caroline Watt looks like – I’ve never spoken to her, never met her."
She continued: "I’m totally the opposite of what they described. I’m not a bad person, the words they used are just totally untrue and there’s no need for it.
"I’ve done nothing to them for them to talk about, and monitor, and stalk me."
The court heard that Mrs Rooney concocted her plan to carry out a sting operation when she tried to remove Mrs Vardy as a follower from her private Instagram account, but her fellow WAG noticed and texted her to ask why.
Mrs Rooney said the pair were "not good friends" and that if someone had unfollowed her she would "probably just forget about it and not message" the person, adding: "I wouldn't have been that bothered really."
"I felt it was suspicious. Obviously, I had suspicions in other ways, so this just added to the suspicions that I had," she said.
Mrs Rooney admitted telling a "fib", informing Mrs Vardy that it was probably her children who always play with her phone.
After reinstating Mrs Vardy as a follower on her private account, Mrs Rooney started posting a string of fake stories and changed the settings so that only Mrs Vardy’s account could see them.
Over the course of the next few months, three of the stories appeared in The Sun newspaper, prompting Mrs Rooney to reveal her findings on social media.
The court heard that Mrs Rooney initially wrote her 'Wagatha Christie' post down with a pen and paper in her notepad, before typing it up and sending it to her brother who manages her social media accounts.
Mrs Rooney said she chose not to approach Mrs Vardy privately with the accusation because she felt she would try to "cover it up" and "would not be truthful".
After she shared the post, the court heard that Mrs Vardy text her saying, "what the f*** is this?", to which Mrs Rooney replied: "You know what it is."
Mrs Vardy then asked Mrs Rooney: "Who is your lawyer?"
Rooney says she 'never asked for' publicity
Mrs Rooney, who said she found the threat of legal letters and lawyers intimidating, was surprised that the story became "as big as it has been".
The mother of four also discussed her rise to fame and reports of her husband’s inappropriate behaviour, telling the court: "There’s been a few unfortunate things that have happened in my life and they have got publicity.
"It’s happened quite a few times. We’ve dealt with it as a couple, and as a family."
Whilst she accepted that she has taken media opportunities which have come her way, she "never asked for" publicity, adding: "I was thrown into it, and I’ve worked with it."
"I wanted to continue at school but the pressure was big at a young age," she said.
The hearing, which is expected to conclude on Thursday, continues.
Court proceedings end for today
Court proceedings have now finished for today, and will resume at 10am tomorrow.
Rooney's brother found out about alleged leaks via Twitter
Giving evidence, Mrs Rooney's brother Joe McLoughlin says that he did not know about his sister's concerns – about an alleged "leaker" – until she decided to speak about it publicly on social media.
He says that she never mentioned her concerns to him personally, until he asked her about it when he read her public tweets.
Mr McLoughlin has now finished giving evidence.
Vardy leaves court early for appointment
Rebekah Vardy has left the Royal Courts of Justice before the end of court, during a short break in the afternoon.
"Mrs Vardy has had to leave for an appointment," her barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC said, adding she meant no disrespect to the court.
Coleen Rooney's brother gives evidence
Coleen Rooney's brother, Joe McLoughlin, is now giving evidence in the witness box.
Vardy’s guests were ‘rude and abusive’ at match, witness claims
The court hears that Ms Robertson said in her witness statement that two people were "rude and abusive" to her when asked to move from seats reserved for her and FA colleagues at the Euro 2016 match.
She tells the court that the two people were allegedly Mrs Vardy's "guests".
"She was looking round and listening to the altercation between me and her guests," Ms Robertson said.
"You're not suggesting Mrs Vardy was rude and abusive?" Mr Tomlinson asked.
Ms Robertson replied: "No not at all".
Ms Robertson has now finished giving evidence.
Vardy made a ‘choice’ to sit behind Rooney at match, witness says
Ms Robertson tells the court she believed Mrs Vardy made a "choice" to sit in seats behind Mrs Rooney at the match, alleging in her witness statement that Mrs Vardy's evidence over this was "simply untrue".
In her own witness statement, Mrs Vardy said: "We went to a game one day and Coleen and her family were sitting in our seats. Rather than make a fuss we sat in the nearest seats available."
Ms Robertson tells the court that she remembered "seat allocations for matches where there were issues".
Asked by Mr Tomlinson how she knew Mrs Vardy had chosen to sit behind Mrs Rooney, she replies: "I believe from what I heard from my colleagues that other seats were available so therefore I deduced it was a choice."
But she also adds: "I don't know if it's deliberate."
‘There are no assumptions, just facts,’ witness says
Harpreet Robertson, who is a consultant for the Football Supporters’ Association and a former liaison officer for the FA, is being questioned by Mrs Vardy’s lawyer.
Mr Tomlinson tells her that she “assumed the worst about” Mrs Vardy, to which Ms Robertson replies: “There are no assumptions, just facts”.
When asked whether it is true that she and Mrs Vardy didn’t get on, she says “Absolutely not”.
“As far as I’m concerned there was no issue on my side at all,” she says, sighing.
“The last time I saw Mrs Vardy [in 2018] we had a very pleasant evening,” she says.
Giving evidence last week, Mrs Vardy claimed that Ms Robertson took an instant dislike to her.
Rooney's PR finishes giving evidence
Rachel Monk has finished giving evidence in the witness box.
Harpreet Robertson, who was family liaison officer for the Football Association during the Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 international football tournaments, is up next.
‘I’ve never asked a journalist to reveal their source,’ PR says
Coleen Rooney’s PR Rachel Monk says she has “never asked a journalist to reveal their source”, as she responds to questions regarding a conversation she had with a journalist from The Sun.
Ms Monk says she spoke to the Sun journalist about the allegedly false “gender selection” story, and that Mrs Rooney had said she had no comment regarding the allegations.
Ms Monk says that she said “off the record” that she didn’t think the story was true, to which the journalist responded “we’ve got a screenshot”.
Rooney’s PR questioned about ‘car crash’ story
Mr Tomlinson QC is cross-examining Ms Monk about the “car crash” story published by The Sun in January 2019, which carried the headline:
ROO-INED MOTOR Coleen Rooney narrowly avoids injury in car crash and wrecks 4×4 just weeks after Wayne’s arrest for ‘public intoxication’ in Washington
Mr Tomlinson asks Ms Monk about the press enquiry sent regarding this story prior to publication.
Ms Monk says she can not remember whether an enquiry was sent via email or over the phone, but says that Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account was not mentioned.
Ms Monk also says that she did not personally have access to Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account.
‘I worked with Coleen in a professional friendly relationship,’ PR says
Ms Monk is being questioned by Mrs Vardy’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC.
When asked about her relationship with Mrs Rooney, she responds that it was a “professional, friendly relationship”.
Press alerts would go through her father’s company, Monk PR, she says.
Under questioning from Mr Tomlinson, she says that she had professional relationships with some Sun journalists.
Rachel Monk takes to the stand
We’re back in court after a break for lunch.
Rachel Monk, who works in PR for Mrs Rooney’s, has entered the witness box.
Break for lunch
The court is now taking a break for lunch.
Our live updates will continue when proceedings resume in an hour.
Vardy's lawyer concludes questioning of Rooney
Mrs Vardy's lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has now concluded his cross-examination of Mrs Rooney.
‘I haven’t attacked her, I called her out’, Rooney says
Mrs Rooney says that she wasn’t attempting to attack Mrs Vardy in her viral “Wagatha Christie” post.
In response to a question from Mr Tomlinson QC, Mrs Vardy says: “I haven’t attacked her, I called her out… I haven't used vicious words, I could’ve done it a lot worse”.
She adds that she “did” consider whether other people could have been behind the alleged leaks before coming to the conclusion that it was Mrs Vardy.
Rooney ‘didn’t know what to do’ when she received letter from Vardy’s lawyers
Mrs Rooney says she “didn’t know what to do” when she received a letter from Mrs Vardy’s lawyers, as she had “never been sent a lawyer’s letter in [her] life”.
When questioned about this by Mr Tomlinson, Mrs Rooney says: “Any lawyer’s letter would be threatening to me, I’ve never had one before… I’ve never dealt with lawyers before.”
"I was quite threatened by it," she adds.
'I've never craved press attention in my life', Rooney tells court
Responding to Mr Tomlinson's claim that she enjoyed the attention she received after her viral "Wagatha Christie" post, Mrs Rooney says that she did not.
"I've never craved press attention in my life – I've had it and I've accepted it and I've tried to cope with it," she says. "I'm not one to draw attention to myself, I never have been".
Mrs Rooney says the reaction to her post was “ridiculous”.
“I’ve hated every minute of it,” she says.
Messages between Caroline Watt and Rebekah Vardy were ‘evil’, Rooney says
Mrs Rooney says that messages that were exchanged between Mrs Vardy and her former agent Caroline Watt about her were “evil” and “uncalled for”.
She tells the court that she’s never spoken to or met Caroline Watt, and that she wouldn’t know what she looked like if it weren’t for photos in the court bundle.
“There’s no need for” the messages that were exchanged between Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt, Mrs Rooney says, adding that they were “monitoring” and "stalking" her.
“She talks about me a lot… She’s got no need to talk about me or my Instagram,” Mrs Rooney says of Mrs Vardy.
Rooney shared ‘Wagatha Christie’ post after seeing ‘flooded basement’ story, court hears
Mrs Rooney is being quizzed about an alleged “false post” she shared on Instagram about her basement having been flooded.
The court hears that Mrs Rooney shared the Instagram story on October 2, 2019, and then unblocked her followers from viewing her stories two days later.
On October 8, 2019, The Sun published an article with the headline: “IN ROO-INS Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s £20million ‘Morrisons mansion’ flooded during Storm Lorenzo”
Mrs Rooney agrees with Mr Tomlinson QC that seeing this story prompted her to share her so-called “Wagatha Christie” statement in which she accused Mrs Vardy of being behind alleged leaked stories about her.
This has been a burden in my life for a few years now and finally I have got to the bottom of it...... pic.twitter.com/0YqJAoXuK1
— Coleen Rooney (@ColeenRoo) October 9, 2019
‘Secret Wag’: Rooney believed column was ‘clever distraction’ from leaks
Mrs Vardy’s lawyer is asking Mrs Rooney about The Sun’s "Secret Wag" column.
Mrs Rooney says that she believes Mrs Vardy was “part of” the column, but she acknowledges that it contained no information taken from her private Instagram account.
But Mr Tomlinson QC points out that the column “was actually rather nice” about Rooney and that it said she was “the nicest Wag to fans”.
He asks whether Mrs Rooney believes these nice comments were a “clever distraction” technique from the alleged leaks, to which she responds that she believes it was.
Mr Tomlinson says it was “pure speculation” for Mrs Rooney to believe Mrs Vardy was involved with the column, and that it could have been a persona constructed by the newspaper.
Mrs Rooney replies that it forms “part of [her] suspicions and evidence that add up… I believe she was part of it.”
Lawyer says Rooney conducted 'serious and concerted operation’
Rebekah Vardy’s lawyer says that Mrs Rooney conducted a “serious and concerted operation” in an attempt to catch her alleged leaker.
But Mrs Rooney responds that it has been “made much bigger than it was”.
Vardy ‘would message more’ when stories published about ‘tough times’, Rooney claims
Mrs Rooney says she felt Mrs Vardy would “message more” when there were stories in the press about her going through “tough times”.
“It’s been unfortunate that things have happened in my life and they get publicised…we’ve dealt with it as a couple, as a family,” she says.
But she alleges that Mrs Vardy would “message me and say ‘how are ya’” when such “new stories” appeared in the news.
“I already had suspicions… as time went on things just seemed to add up,” she says. “I felt like it was fishing for information”.
Court hears Rooney chose not to tell Sun that ‘sting operation’ story was untrue
The court hears that Mrs Rooney chose not to tell The Sun that an article written about her so-called “gender selection treatment” was untrue, as she wanted to keep it as “evidence” for her “sting operation”.
On August 15, 2019, The Sun ran an article under the headline:
COL'S BABY GIRL BID Coleen Rooney travelled to Mexico to look into £8k ‘gender selection’ treatment in desperate bid to have baby girl.
Mrs Rooney claims that the story came from one of her false “sting operation” Instagram posts used to trap an alleged leaker.
She says that she “wanted” the story to be published despite it being “totally untrue”, as she wanted it for her “own evidence”.
Rooney asked PR to find out who source of Sun story was, court hears
The court hears that in March 2019 Coleen Rooney asked PR woman Rachel Monk to find out who was the source of a story about her and her husband securing a babysitter, following an approach from The Sun newspaper.
Mrs Rooney had a suspicion it was Rebekah Vardy, telling the PR, who she had worked with "on and off" for years, that she was allegedly "fame hungry" from "stuff she's done at the World Cup".
Asked why she did not delete Mrs Vardy from her Instagram, Mrs Rooney says she did not want to "trap" her, adding: "I just wanted to find out who was doing this to me."
"I thought by going public on Instagram and saying someone is doing this to me I thought it would stop," she says, adding: "But it continued."
"This person was not paying attention to me giving warnings," Mrs Rooney says.
"I just wanted to find out who was doing this."
Vardy’s lawyer quizzes Rooney on Instagram stories
Rebekah Vardy’s lawyer is asking Mrs Rooney about the Instagram stories involved in her alleged “sting operation”.
The court hears that her “operation” lasted two days before Mrs Rooney unblocked the rest of her followers from seeing her stories, so that she could share photos on holiday.
“Instagram did play a big part in my life” at the time, she says.
Rooney questioned on ‘sting operation’
Mr Tomlinson QC is questioning Mrs Rooney on her “sting operation”.
He says she decided to launch a sting operation when she became suspicious, to which she sighs as she replies: “Correct”.
Mrs Vardy’s lawyer asks: “Why didn’t you discuss it with anybody?”
Mrs Rooney replies that she didn’t want to unless she was “100 per cent sure… so I kept it to myself.”
“I wanted to do this for myself, I wanted to be sure that at the end of it, if it wasn’t Rebekah Vardy’s account then it wasn’t,” she says.
Mrs Rooney adds that when the first article was published as part of her sting operation – the “gender selection” story – it was “quite hard” keeping it to herself.
Mr Tomlinson grills her on why she kept the information to herself, saying: “So you didn’t trust the people around you?”
Mrs Rooney responds: “No, I felt I didn’t need to tell anyone – I didn’t feel the need they had to know… I try to deal with things in silence myself.”
Rooney was ‘suspicious’ when Vardy messaged her after being unfollowed on Instagram
Mrs Vardy’s lawyer asks Mrs Rooney whether it “increased [her] suspicions” when Mrs Vardy messaged her after realising she had been unfollowed by Mrs Rooney’s account.
Mrs Rooney replies: “Yes it did… we’re not good friends apart from the odd message now and again. If that were me in her shoes I would probably forget about it”.
She says she personally wouldn’t have messaged Mrs Vardy if she had noticed that she had been unfollowed.
“I felt it was suspicious,” she says, adding: “This just added to the other suspicions that I had.”
The court hears that Mrs Vardy had sent Mrs Rooney a message saying “Hi my love, hope you’re okay, saw you unfollowed me”, and asking whether she had done something to offend her.
Mrs Rooney replied saying: “Oh, I didn’t even know… the kids have my phone all the time, they’ve probably done it, let me check.”
Mrs Vardy’s lawyer accuses her of replying with “a lie”, and Mrs Rooney admits that she told a “fib” but that this was “a cover-up for what [she] was investigating”.
Rebekah Vardy arrives
Rebekah Vardy has arrived, flanked by her bodyguard and wearing a yellow skirt and jacket.
Coleen Rooney arrives
Coleen Rooney has arrived at the High Court.
Again accompanied by her husband, former footballer turned manager Wayne Rooney, she wore a grey jacket and trousers with a black top.
The couple stepped out of a silver Mercedes and were met by a crowd of photographers before entering the building.
What happened on Friday
Coleen Rooney began giving evidence on Friday.
Mrs Rooney told how she was left "fuming" when private details of her reconciliation with her husband Wayne were fed to the media, leading her to carry out a sophisticated sting operation that she said identified Rebekah Vardy as the source of the leaks.
Mrs Rooney told the High Court that a now-famous social media post in which she accused Mrs Vardy's Instagram account of being behind a series of leaked stories was her "last resort" as she tried to catch the person responsible "red handed".
In what has become the battle royal of the WAGs (footballer’s wives and girlfriends), Mrs Vardy, the wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, is now suing Mrs Rooney for libel over her claims that she was responsible for planting stories in the press taken from Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account.
The day before, Mrs Vardy twice broke down and proceedings had to be paused while she composed herself. Mrs Rooney and her husband, Wayne, looked on as Mrs Vardy wept while giving evidence.
David Sherborne, for Mrs Rooney, challenged Mrs Vardy over alleged “missing messages”, the so-called “false” stories “planted” by his client, and other aspects of Mrs Vardy's witness statement.
See Friday’s live blog for the key moments from day three of the trial.