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Rebekah Vardy has taken the witness stand for a third day in her high-profile High Court libel battle with Coleen Rooney.
The TV personality faced about half an hour of questioning on the first day of the trial on Tuesday, before about five hours of cross-examination by Rooney’s barrister, David Sherborne, on Wednesday.
In a viral social media post in October 2019, Mrs Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a "sting operation" and accused Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press.
The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney 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, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer's wife for libel, while Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.
Proceedings have finished for today
17:08 , Elly Blake
Court proceedings today have ended on what has been another eventful day in the ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel rial.
Court resumes at 10.30am on Friday.
Join us again tomorrow, when we will be bringing you more live updates from inside the courtroom.
For a re-cap on what happened today, click here.
‘If it looks like a leak...’
17:05 , Elly Blake
Rebekah Vardy concluded her evidence in tears as she accused Coleen Rooney of driving her friend and agent to suicidal thoughts with the Wagatha Christie case.
When barrister David Sherborne, for Rooney, suggested Vardy’s agent, Caroline Watt, had withdrawn from the case to avoid supporting her, Vardy angrily replied: “She has been driven to suicidal thoughts by the proceedings and the antics of the defendant.”
Earlier, Vardy had accused Rooney of “weaponising her fanbase against me” with the Wagatha Christie bombshell accusation.
Mr Sherborne said Vardy said she had sought to place the blame for leaks to The Sun on Ms Watt after “years of dutiful service”, adding: “I have to put it to you that it’s not her that has betrayed you, as you suggest, but it’s you that has betrayed her by throwing her under the bus.”
Vardy broke down and cried as her evidence ended, muttering “that’s a joke” at the barrister’s final suggestion.
She was then accompanied across the courtroom, just feet away from Rooney and husband Wayne, by one of her legal team, still wiping away tears.
Vardy, who complained of being tired and needed two breaks when she broke down crying, was tearful for the final 15 minutes of her third day of evidence.
She was accused of deliberately deleting key messages that would have been evidence in the case, allegedly knowing they would include evidence of her leaking information to the media.
Mr Sherborne mentioned a story on Danny Drinkwater being arrested for drink driving – which Vardy has accepted helping to leak to The Sun – as well as two stories about extra marital affairs involving footballers.
“We have seen from the disclosure we have managed to get from you and Ms Watt that you were consistently discussing, seeking to and intending to pass on information to The Sun about a number of people”, said Mr Sherborne.
“Would you not agree Mrs Vardy that if it looks like a leak, it sounds like a leak, and you even use the word leak, it’s more likely than not to be a leak.”
Vardy replied; “No.”
“That’s what you were – a leak”, he said, and Vardy again said “no”.
Vardy quizzed on Daily Mail interview on day of ‘Wagatha Christie’ bombshell
16:43 , Elly Blake
Rebekah Vardy gave an interview the day after the ‘Wagatha Christie’ bombshell, denying responsibility for leaks about Coleen Rooney and appearing to suggest someone else with access to her Instagram could be to blame.
Vardy spoke to the Daily Mail in the aftermath of the infamous October 2019, revealing she had spoken to Rooney over the phone.
Asked if they had rowed, Vardy is reported as saying: “That would be like arguing with a pigeon. You can tell it that you are right and it is wrong, but it’s still going to s*** in your hair.”
The High Court heard Vardy suggested in the article that “a dozen people” had access to her Instagram account and “could have snooped on Coleen’s private Instagram posts”.
Mr Sherborne said expert analysis had determined that only Vardy, Ms Watt, Jamie Vardy, and one other person had access to the account, while only Vardy and her agent used it regularly.
Vardy told the court she was “in a blur” after Rooney’s allegation, made when she was seven-months pregnant, and which sparked a torrent of online abuse.
“I was desperately trying to do something to defuse the situation”, she said.
“Rightly or wrongly, maybe that article shouldn’t have been done.
“My mindset was very different back then.”
Pressed on the accuracy of the number of people accessing her Instagram account, Vardy said she did not check it with anyone before giving the interview.
Vardy suggested Rooney had “quite frankly revelled in my anguish, upset and hurt”.
Vardy breaks down again during questioning
16:04 , Bill Mcloughlin
Vardy broke down for a second time in the witness box, as she was questioned about one of the alleged leaks at the heart of the libel trial, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.
Rooney posted a fake story on Instagram about a flood in the basement of her £20 million family home which was under construction.
The post went online in October 2019, and a story about a flood then appeared in The Sun.
“I don’t recall seeing this one”, she said. “I recall seeing something similar with blueprints of the house and thought it was quite strange.
“I didn’t understand why someone would put blueprints up of the house they were building, for security reasons.”
Mr Sherborne then pointed out that Vardy’s solicitors appeared to have accepted, in a letter sent after the libel case commenced, that Vardy had seen the fake post.
“There was a lot of abuse at the time”, she said as she fought back tears.
Vardy reached for a tissue to wipe away her tears, as the judge agreed to another break.
Vardy briefly sat with her head on the table in the witness box, before the court usher suggested she could go and take a break outside.
Court proceedings halted as Vardy breaks down
15:12 , Bill Mcloughlin
Court proceedings were halted when Vardy broke down under intense questioning from David Sherborne about the alleged leaks at the heart of the court battle, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.
Vardy is accused of leaking a fake story planted by Rooney on her private Instagram in April 2019 about going to Mexico to look into gender selection for a fourth child.
The court has heard it is alleged only Vardy’s account which saw the fake post involved, but she insisted she saw a different social media post of Rooney cradling a baby girl.
Mr Sherborne said lawyers had failed to locate a post that would fit that description, accusing Vardy of telling lies.
When the barrister accidentally used Vardy’s name instead of Rooney, Vardy told him: “I didn’t go to Mexico for gender selection.”
Mr Sherborne corrected himself, and then shot back: “Is that your best point Mrs Vardy?”
The Wag reached for a tissue as she shed a tear in the witness box, and Mrs Justice Steyn halted proceedings for Vardy to compose herself.
Vardy’s motive behind contacting Rooney questioned
14:52 , Bill Mcloughlin
Rebekah Vardy has been accused of contemplating using the anniversary of Coleen Rooney’s sister’s death as an excuse to contact her after being blocked on Instagram, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.
Vardy told the court at the end of January 2019 “there was a post or a story around that time about Rosie”, explaining that is Rooney’s late sister.
Vardy, in WhatsApp messages to her agent Caroline Watt, discussed being blocked and suggested she could message Rooney and make reference to her sister.
“You were going to use the excuse of Coleen’s deceased sister to message her?” asked Mr Sherborne.
Vardy replied: “That’s an interpretation.”
“It’s the right interpretation”, replied Mr Sherborne, and Vardy replied: “No.”
The court heard Vardy told her agent she was “not having her (Rooney) badmouthing about me”, and added later: “I swear she better not c*** me off”.
The court heard Ms Watt came up with a different reason to contact Rooney, suggesting she had been on Loose Women and Rooney had been suggested as a possible future guest, which Mr Sherbone suggested was “a slightly nicer peg”.
Rebekah Vardy accused of being ‘totally disingenuous’
14:24 , Bill Mcloughlin
The trial now moves onto the correspondence between Vardy and Rooney, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.
When a story appeared in The Sun and Rooney suspected a friend of leaking to the media, Ms Watt privately told Vardy “it was me”.
It was revealed that Vardy suggested to Rooney directly, that her Instagram account may have been hacked by the newspaper, and was accused by Rooney’s barrister of trying to “throw her off the scent”.
Rooney first made her suspicions public about a leak in February 2019, after a story had appeared in The Sun about damage to a car she was driving in Washington DC.
The High Court heard Vardy contacted her fellow WAG, telling her: “This is so bad and The Sun of all people as well.”
Asking if she had scoured her followers for signs of a leak, Vardy said: “What about being hacked?” and later added: “You don’t think the paper has been hacking your account?”.
David Sherborne, for Rooney, told Vardy: “That’s totally disingenuous, isn’t it?”
He accused Vardy of “reaching out” when she “realised you are a suspect”.
“You knew perfectly well you have been responsible through Ms Watt for passing information to The Sun”, he said.
“You are presenting yourself as someone who hates The Sun, someone coming up with excuses, maybe hacking, suggesting someone with celeb links – you are throwing her off the scent.”
“No”, replied Vardy, who added: “I knew she didn’t like The Sun.”
Vardy failed to challenge agent as she was ‘distracted’ by Dancing on Ice
13:03 , 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, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.
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.”
Vardy accused of having 'selective amnesia’
12:52 , Bill Mcloughlin
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, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.
“In the very crowded room we see, somehow you have forgotten that you actually knew perfectly well Mr Halls was there”, said the barrister.
“No”, replied Vardy, suggesting the originally invitation may have come from Mr Halls “but I’m not 100 per cent sure about that”.
Sherborne has 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.
Rebekah Vardy quizzed over Coleen Rooney’s car crash
12:49 , Bill Mcloughlin
Vardy insists she did not leak news of Coleen Rooney being involved in a car crash to a Sun journalist at the National Television Awards, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.
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.
“Lots of people saw that.”
‘I didn’t arrange the photographer,’ says Rebekah Vardy
12:07 , Bill Mcloughlin
Vardy admitted organising for a photographer to take shots of her outside the hotel that evening, when other Wags were likely to be present, but insists she did not reveal travel plans to the restaurant or coordinate a picture during the meal, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent
Mr Sherborne said Fern Hawkins, the fiancé of defender Harry Maguire, was “embarrassed, not prepared and had not expected to be put in that position”, as he accused Vardy of denying the “obvious” explanation for the texts.
“You can’t admit this because then you really would have orchestrated the photograph – as we say, but somehow you still want to deny”, he said.
“Not true”, said Vardy. “I didn’t arrange the photographer outside the restaurant.”
Mr Sherborne suggested Vardy had changed her account of the night during pre-trial stages, saying: “The reason you can’t get your story straight is because you are lying.”
Vardy said: “No I’m absolutely not lying.”
She accepted the texts suggest she was helping Ms Watt deal with a picture, but said she just wanted to put her phone away and concentrate on enjoying the meal.
Vardy faces continued grilling over ‘orchestrated’ World Cup picture
11:53 , Bill Mcloughlin
Vardy faced a grilling over claims she had “orchestrated” a picture of her and fellow Wags outside a restaurant in St Petersburg, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.
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.
Rebekah Vardy quizzed over 2018 World Cup appearance
11:09 , Bill Mcloughlin
Begining her evidence on day three of the trial, Vardy was accused of secretly working with a paparazzi photographer who had been tipped off to get an exclusive picture of fellow Wags at the 2018 World Cup, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.
Vardy accepted she had been involved in arranging a “snatch” picture of her and other footballers’ wives as they left a hotel in Russia to go to dinner.
But she denied orchestrating a picture later in the evening at the restaurant, and insisted she had not been secretly texting her agent to ensure the image the photographer got was exclusive.
David Sherborne, for Rooney, suggested texts between Vardy and agent Caroline Watt reveal she had “dragged” the Wags outside of the restaurant for an image, inadvertently coming across the paparazzo who was supposed to be “hiding in the bushes”.
He said texts suggest Vardy and Ms Watt then feared the other Wags would post their own pictures on Instagram from inside the restaurant, to “thwart the exclusive”.
“You were terrified you are going to lose your exclusive so you do everything you can to stall them”, he said, pointing to the messages.
“That’s not true”, said Vardy, who said the messages show her “trying to get her (Ms Watt) off my back so I could put my phone away and enjoy my evening. It had been a crazy couple of days.”
Vardy said she was not aware of any Wags being “annoyed” by the alleged staged picture.
Rebekah Vardy arrives
10:25 , Sarah Harvey
Coleen Rooney arrives for day three
10:18 , Sarah Harvey
Recap: Vardy denies instructing agent to leak information about Danielle Lloyd
10:17 , Bill Mcloughlin
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.”
Recap: Vardy tried to leak Leicester City player’s drink drive arrest
10:06 , Bill Mcloughlin
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 City player was arrested after a late night crash in Cheshire following a party in April 2019.
Vardy, whose husband, Jamie, played with Drinkwater told her agent about the arrest and revealed 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.
When pressed, she insisted the conversation between people “who knew each other very well and knew each other’s jokes”.
She also said that she wanted the story to be in the public domain as she is anti-drink-driving.
Recap: What did we learn on day 2 of the trial?
09:55 , Bill Mcloughlin
Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of day two of the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial.
Proceedings are due to commence at 10.30am and here is a recap of the main points from day two.
Rebekah Vardy continued giving evidence in her libel claim against Coleen Rooney and claimed texts between her and agent, Caroline Watt were merely “gossip”.
On day two of the trial, the court heard a series of messages between Vardy and her agent, where they discussed leaking a story between a footballer and a famous married TV personality.
Messages from September 2018 show Vardy telling Ms 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 claimed the messages had been a joke between friends and denied orchestrating a leak about the affair.
She also claimed the exchanges between the two were at tmes “outrageous” and “inappropriate”.