Wagatha Christie trial: Rebekah Vardy denies lying and says she wasn’t aware agent ‘stalked’ Rooney

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Wagatha Christie trial: Rebekah Vardy denies lying and says she wasn’t aware agent ‘stalked’ Rooney
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Rebekah Vardy has denied telling lies on oath in her High Court ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial as she insisted she was not aware if her agent was “stalking” Coleen Rooney.

The two WAGs are at war over Rooney’s 2019 bombshell revelation she suspected former friend Vardy of leaking stories about her to The Sun newspaper.

In evidence on Wednesday, Vardy said texts between her and agent Caroline Watt – allegedly about leaking information on cheating footballers, model Danielle Lloyd, and former Leicester midfielders Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez – looked bad but were merely “gossip” and “speculation”.

Earlier in her evidence, Vardy said she was “absolutely just joking” when she told her agent to leak a story about an affair between a footballer and a famous married TV personality.

Vardy accepted the messages read like she was directing a leak, but she told the court: “That’s the way it reads, but in context it is bits of information in with other bits of information. I was absolutely just joking about that one.”

Vardy did accept trying to leak information on footballer Danny Drinkwater when he was arrested for drink driving, and had a “fleeting” thought that she wanted paying for the story. However she said the tip was not taken by The Sun as journalists already knew about the arrest.

Vardy’s evidence continues.

17:09 , Lily Waddell

Thank you for following our specialist coverage with our Courts Correspondent Tristan Kirk.

15:42 , Lily Waddell

Vardy in tears as Twitter trolls threats to rape her daughter referred to in court

Rebekah Vardy broke down in tears when reports of Twitter trolls threatening to rape her daughter were mentioned in the High Court, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

David Sherborne, for Rooney, called it “horrible stuff, we can all agreed” as he made reference to the 2016 news article.

Court proceedings were paused as Vardy wiped away tears and sought to regain her composure.

“If you need to take a moment, please do,” said Mr Sherborne, and Vardy replied: “OK.”

As she appeared to be still struggling, the barrister asked: “Are you sure you don’t want to take a moment?”

Vardy replied: “I don’t think it’s going to make a difference to be honest.”

Sherborne asked if he could summarise Vardy’s views as “people can say whatever they want to me, I’m thick-skinned, but when someone says something horrible about your children that’s where you draw the line.”

Vardy accepted that was a “fair summary”.

15:41 , Lily Waddell

Vardy admits she arranges paparazzi pictures and staged pictures

Rebekah Vardy told the High Court she organises paparazzi pictures and agreed to a staged image of her leaving hospital with her new-born baby, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

“Absolutely,” she told the court. “I’ve never hidden the fact I have done staged pictures and in fact I’ve always owned it.”

Vardy said she knew a photographer was waiting outside Leicester maternity hospital in 2017 and denied “misleading the public” with the snaps.

“I had some pictures taken of me coming out of the hospital,” she said.

“I wanted to control, to make sure no one got me or a picture of my baby and surprised me. I wanted to make sure it was on my time when I wanted to do it.”

When it was suggested she had been manoeuvring the photographer to the correct exit, Vardy replied: “I had just given birth, the last thing I was thinking about was where the photographer was standing. I just gave permission for a photographer to be there.”

The court was shown an image of Vardy posing naked in a newspaper in December 2016 when pregnant.

“They were images we did, that were our own images,” she said. “They weren’t taken specifically for this article.”

Vardy quizzed over attendance at Euros 2016

15:25 , Josh Salisbury

Vardy faced questions over the Euro 2016 tournament, when she was among the Wags supporting the men’s team, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

Vardy said she was aware that the FA wanted tight security, and was concerned to avoid a repeat of the media frenzy around the Wags at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

“I wasn’t seeking attention, no”, she told the court.

“I wanted to be there to support my husband.”

Asked if she was “not interested in publicity and happy to blur into the background”, Vardy replied: “Yes, that’s correct.”

The court heard she had a ‘Euro diary’ column in The Sun during the tournament.

Mr Sherborne drew attention to an image of Vardy “jumping around like at loony” when husband Jamie scored at the England-Wales match, when she was seated behind Rooney in the stadium.

Vardy is accusing of deliberately sitting with her entourage behind Rooney, despite those not being her seats, in a bid to “boost her profile”.

“That’s not true at all”, she said. “It’s nonsense, absolutely nonsense.”

Mr Sherborne said the FA’s family liaison officer, Harpreet Robertson, is due to give evidence contradicting Vardy, and has the tickets to show she was not in seats allocated to her.

Vardy suggested she may have “completely forgotten” what happened, or could have been “told what to say”.

She added that Ms Robertson “took an instant dislike to me” when they met at the football tournament.

Vardy joined talent agency ‘to counter negative publicity about herself'

15:22 , Josh Salisbury

Rebekah Vardy joined Caroline Watt’s FRP talent agency, and told the High Court she wanted to counter negative publicity about herself, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts Correspondent.

“She was offering me a way to tell my side of the story, because there was so much negative press out there – article after article about me and I never responded.

“She suggested I could do some interviews to put my truth across.”

Mr Sherborne suggested Vardy was “the most important client at FRP”, but she replied: “No, to the best of my knowledge they had Ant Middleton.”

The barrister conceded he was not familiar with Mr Middleton, and Vardy told him: “He is a person who has, or had, a TV show called SAS Who Dares Wins.”

Mr Sherborne then asked: “Other than Ant Middleton, you were the most important client FRP had”, but Vardy refused to budge, replying: “I wouldn’t say I was important.”

Vardy insists she was not aware if her agent was ‘stalking’ Coleen Rooney

14:34 , Sarah Harvey

Rebekah Vardy has denied telling lies on oath in her High Court ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial as she insisted she was not aware if her agent was “stalking” Coleen Rooney.

David Sherborne, for Rooney, showed the court messages about an image posted to Rooney’s private Instagram account, that Vardy believed showed one of the Rooney children on the way to school without a seatbelt on.

“Yes it is, but on her private Instagram, so can’t do anything with it”, replied Ms Watt.

Mr Sherborne suggested Vardy “knew perfectly well (Ms Watt) is monitoring Mrs Rooney’s account”, and pointed out Vardy said on oath yesterday that she was unaware of her agent looking at other people’s private Instagram information through her log-in.

“She has had to look through to find Mrs Rooney’s account”, said Mr Sherborne.

Vardy told the court: “I didn’t know she was intentionally going to people’s Instagrams to check information or see what they have posted”, .

“We were just gossiping.”

She added: “She never said once she was stalking her account.”

Mr Sherborne told her: “Our case is that far from being aware of what was happening, Ms Watt was looking through Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account with your permission.

“You knew exactly what she was doing, and you condoned it.”

“No that’s not true”, replied Vardy.

Mr Sherborne suggested Vardy cannot admit she knew about Ms Watt’s alleged activities as “the last shred of your case would vanish”.

“I didn’t admit that”, she said.

“It’s a lie isn’t it”, said Mr Sherborne, to which Vardy replied: “No.”

Vardy denies instructing agent to leak info about model Danielle Lloyd

13:19 , Sarah Harvey

Rebekah Vardy denied instructing her agent to “leak the Maldives stuff” about model Danielle Lloyd, telling the High Court that was a typo.

Vardy said she sent her agent Caroline Watt a screenshot of a magazine article featuring Ms Lloyd, accompanied by the comment: “She’s gone and done it now. Leak the Maldives stuff.”

Faced with the accusation that she was telling her agent to speak to a journalist, Vardy replied: “It should say she’s gone and done it now, leaked the Maldives stuff.

“Danielle Lloyd is talking about her Maldives honeymoon and her unfortunate miscarriage.

“It’s Danielle Lloyd giving information and stories to the press about herself.”

Vardy denied being friends with Ms Lloyd.

“I wouldn’t say (she is) a friend”, she told the court.

“I’ve been to her house, only once, I’ve taken the kids to see her children. That was the first and only time I met her. She is not someone in my circle.”

Vardy denied have a “beef” with Ms Lloyd, or a “spat on Instagram”, but told the court she had called the model a “nasty b****” in a private message to Ms Watt – a remark Rooney believes was aimed at her.

David Sherborne, for Rooney, challenged her: “You are telling Ms Watt to leak the Maldives stuff to the paper.

Vardy replied: “I didn’t have anything to give on any Maldives stuff. I wasn’t privy to any information on Danielle Lloyd.”

Vardy tried to leak Drinkwater’s drink drive arrest to Sun, court hears

12:13 , Josh Salisbury

Rebekah Vardy tried to leak news of footballer Danny Drinkwater’s drink driving arrest to The Sun for money but the newspaper had already been told about the incident, the High Court heard.

The former Chelsea and Leicester midfielder was arrested after a late-night crash in Cheshire after a house party in April 2019.

Vardy, whose husband Jamie had played with Drinkwater at Leicester, told her agent Caroline Watt about the arrest, revealing he had “only just been let out of the cells”.

“I want paying for this”, Vardy told her agent.

She later commented that she was “fuming” when told that the newspaper already had the story, and she suggested she may be able to get Drinkwater’s address to give to a photography agency.

“It was a fleeting thought and one I didn’t consider more than when I wrote it”, she told the High Court.

David Sherborne, for Rooney, shot back: “What on earth does that mean, that answer? Can you just explain it?”

Vardy replied that she wanted the story to be in the public domain as she is anti-drink-driving.

“I meant it in the context of it was something terrible, it originated with something seen on social media”, she said.

“I’m deeply affected by drink driving. My ex-husband killed two people during our marriage.

“I was something I felt was outrageous, and at the time I didn’t care if the information came out or not.”

Asked about the payment comment, Vardy said: “When I said I want paying for it, it was a fleeting comment and something I probably considered at the time but that was it.”

She added: “It was something I, wrongly, got involved with, that I shouldn’t have, and I can only apologise.

“The messages are not good, but it was something that affected me in the instant.”

The court heard Vardy told Ms Watt that Drinkwater “was due to pick his little boy up today as well”, and she could not now recall how she obtained that information.

“I don’t think that’s private information”, she said.

“A number of people could have known he was going to pick his son up, and I actually can’t remember who I knew.”

Mr Sherborne retorted: “It happens so often that you leak information that you can’t remember anymore”, and Vardy replied: “That’s not true.”

Vardy said she was not angry at missing out on the tip-off fee to The Sun, but could not explain a comment to Ms Watt that she was “fuming”.

“I don’t know why I was fuming”, she said. “I apologise for how badly (the messages) read, they are private conversations between two people who knew each other very well and knew each other’s jokes.”

Vardy: Messages about ‘leaking story about woman’s affair’ in 2018 was ‘joke’

11:25 , Josh Salisbury

Rebekah Vardy told the High Court she was “absolutely just joking” when she told her agent to leak a story about an affair between a footballer and a famous married TV personality, writes Courts Correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

Messages from September 2018 show Vardy telling her agent Caroline Watt to “leak the story” about the TV star “shagging [another man] behind [her partner’s] back”.

Vardy accepted the messages read like she was directing a leak, but she told the court: “That’s the way it reads, but in context it is bits of information in with other bits of information. I was absolutely just joking about that one.

“I was gossiping, that (information) was circling quite a bit.

“I used the word ‘leak’ where I probably shouldn’t use the word ‘leak’.”

Vardy said she had read news stories about the woman involved, saying she was “shocked and disgusted”, but denied orchestrating a leak about the affair.

“Our WhatsApps were sometimes outrageous, sometimes totally inappropriate”, she said of the messages with Ms Watt.

“These are a lot of conversations between friends gossiping, poking fun about people.

“Yes, they don’t read very well, but there are always explanations for them.

“This wasn’t just someone I knew, this was a friend.”

Vardy: Messages on Riyad Mahrez ‘harmless gossip'

11:03 , Josh Salisbury

Rebekah Vardy said it was a “bit of harmless gossip” when she contemplated passing a tip to a reporter about her husband’s teammate Riyad Mahrez going on strike, the High Court was told, writes Courts Correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

Messages aired at the “Wagatha Christie” trial show Vardy told her agent Caroline Watt that Mahrez had not turned up for training at Leicester in February 2018 while trying to force through a move to Manchester City, adding: “Lads are fuming.”

She is then accused of agreeing to Ms Watt’s suggestion that the information could be passed to a Sky Sports News reporter, with the caveat “Just don’t want it coming back on me”.

Asked about the incident and accused of breaking the trust of Leicester and her husband, Vardy called the messages “speculation” and gossip”.

“It doesn’t look good”, she told the High Court. “I was gossiping about things already in the public domain and the press were camped outside the training ground, taking pictures of players going in and out.

“It was an interesting story, pretty much unheard of for a player to go on strike and not turn up when he was contracted for training.”

Vardy insisted her messages to Ms Watt was “speculation and just a bit of information I’ve heard and overheard and also read in the press before.”

When pressed by Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne that she had discussed leaking news from within the Leicester dressing room, Vardy said she did not know definitely that Mahrez’s teammates were “fuming”, she said: “I didn’t know that for a fact at all.”

Vardy insisted that the information was not given to Sky News, and added: “We were just having a gossip about something that was already in the public domain. I didn’t see what harm that comment would make

“It was a bit of harmless gossip.”

Rooney’s team say the tip was ultimately given to The Sun newspaper, claiming it shows Vardy’s close relationship with the organisation.

Coleen Rooney arrives at court for second day of trial

10:31 , Josh Salisbury

Coleen Rooney, supported by husband Wayne, has arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice as the high-profile libel battle enters its second day.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Vardy arrives at court for day two of trial

10:14 , Josh Salisbury

Rebekah Vardy has arrived at the High Court for the second day of the trial of her libel dispute with Coleen Rooney.

The mother-of-five was dressed all in black, wearing sunglasses, a jacket, long skirt and high heels.

 (PA)
(PA)
 (REUTERS)
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Recap: Vardy evidence on first meeting Rooney at Euro 2016

09:57 , Josh Salisbury

Vardy also gave evidence to the court on her first meeting with Coleen Rooney at the 2016 Euros, below:

“[Husband] Jamie knew Wayne Rooney (“Wayne”) professionally before our marriage,” she told the court.

“Wayne and Coleen sent us a wedding present in May 2016, but I did not really get to know her personally until the June 2016 Euros in France.

“I was on my own with my daughter Sofia, who was then a baby, and was pregnant with my son, Finley. I was flying in and out of France with Sofia a lot during the weeks of the Euros to support Jamie.

“I found it quite an isolating experience. I did not know what being part of the England football team was all about and I did not like the feeling of people expecting you to conform to the way other people behaved or the way the media wanted you to behave.

“I remember being out with Sofia and walking through the gardens. I bumped into Coleen and her family and her children. We said hello but she did not stop to make conversation.

“I remember thinking that if I had seen someone new on their own with a child I would have made them feel a bit more welcome and maybe invited them for a drink.

“I thought that Coleen was probably already in quite a close circle that she might not be keen on me being part of as a newcomer.”

Recap: Vardy told court Rooney was ‘calculated and cold’ after ‘Wagatha’ post

09:54 , Josh Salisbury

In evidence, Vardy told the court that Rooney was “calculated and cold” and said she could have used her influence to discourage trolls. Below is her evidence:

“Once she saw the reaction and I had told her that it wasn’t me, she should have used her influence and reach to call the trolls off. She didn’t,” she told the court.

“All she did was double down on her allegations whilst refusing to even provide me with 2 of the Posts that she claimed I had leaked (the TV Decisions and Flooded Basement Posts), despite me asking for them immediately.

“I had to endure photographs of her out at a big party whilst I was being harassed and photographed distressed and crying with people jeering at me. It was hideous. I was so afraid for our baby.

I then called Coleen (our WhatsApp messages from that morning suggest we spoke within 30 minutes after I saw the Post) but she didn’t answer immediately and then called me back off an unknown number. I felt like she was recording the whole call.

“I hoped that once I had told her that it was not me then she would simply fix this. Instead, she accused me of leaking stories about her for years. I asked her to send me the stories that she thought I had leaked and she said that I knew exactly what I had done.

“I asked her how she could do that to someone who was heavily pregnant and she responded that I had been leaking stories about her when she was pregnant.

“She told me that she wanted to make me feel paranoid the way she had felt paranoid. I still remember her tone on that telephone call really vividly. It was extremely calculated and cold and she showed no remorse even though I was very upset. I found it very chilling and quite menacing.”

Recap: Vardy’s evidence on her reaction to Rooney’s allegation

09:49 , Josh Salisbury

Below is Vardy’s evidence on her reaction to Rooney’s allegation she was leaking stories about her:

“I started to get really hot and suffered from strange palpitations. Loads of messages started coming through on my mobile phone and I was seeing these messages on Instagram calling me names: “fucking rat”, “fucking b****”, “who sells their friends out”, she told the court.

“This abuse has continued. I was in such a heightened state of emotion because I was heavily pregnant and it felt like the whole world was caving in on me. I must have been in shock.

“I remember getting out of the car and I was shaking and thought I was going to be sick. I felt extremely paranoid and like everyone in the beach club was looking at me. I thought I was going to pass out and Jamie decided we needed to leave straight away.

“I do not fully remember the journey back to the hotel because I was almost hyperventilating. I knew that I had not done anything wrong. I had not leaked those stories and I did not even know what Posts I was supposed to have leaked.

“I started getting really bad pains in my stomach when we got back to the hotel. They were contraction type pains and I panicked that the baby was in danger. I made myself calm down and tried to think clearly.

The first thing I did was ring my eldest daughter’s school. She was 13 years old then and children that age can be really cruel to each other.

“I needed to make the school aware of the situation so that they could try to protect her from bullying by the other children. All I cared about at that point was protecting my children. I knew that there must have been a mistake.”

Recap: What did we learn on day 1 of the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial?

09:19 , Josh Salisbury

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

Proceedings are due to get underway at 10.30am, but here is a recap of the key things which occured on day one of the trial.

Both sides presented opening written arguments, and Rebekah Vardy started giving evidence in her libel claim against Coleen Rooney, issuing a flat denial that she was the source of leaks.

She said she suffered palpitations while seven months pregnant when she was publicly accused of leaking stories to the media about Coleen Rooney in October 2019.

Outlining her case, Vardy’s barrister said she accepts her friend and agent Caroline Watt may have been behind leaks to the press about Coleen Rooney, but insists it is “not something she knew anything about”, the court heard.

Hugh Tomlinson QC also told the court that Rooney revelled “in the attention of the Agatha Christie story”.

However, Rooney’s lawyers questioned Vardy about a 2004 interview in the News of the World, in which she revealed details of sex with singer Peter Andre and made a jibe about his “chipolata” manhood.

Vardy accepted the article was “not nice” and “absolutely” disrespectful to Mr Andre, but insisted she had not wanted to take part in the interview.

She said the Peter Andre story was in “completely different” circumstances to the current legal case.

“I was forced into a situation”, she added. “It’s horrible, would I ever do anything like that again? Not in a million years.”

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