Wagatha Christie trial LIVE: Rebekah Vardy denies leaking stories about Coleen Rooney to media as begins evidence in libel battle

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·29-min read
Wagatha Christie trial LIVE: Rebekah Vardy denies leaking stories about Coleen Rooney to media as begins evidence in libel battle
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Footballers wives Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy have come face-to-face in court as their ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial got under way.

Rooney, 36 dropped a bombshell Twitter post in October 2019, accusing fellow WAG Vardy, 40, of leaking stories about her and her family to The Sun newspaper.

Vardy, the wife of Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, fired off a furious riposte, denying the allegation and setting the stage for a legal battle at London’s High Court which has garnered international attention.

Both Vardy and Rooney, the wife of England leading scorer Wayne Rooney, are expected to give evidence during a seven-day trial, which will pore over social media spats, secret leaks to the media, and WAG rivalries.

Vardy denies wrongdoing and insists her reputation has been smeared, while Rooney says her accusation – which famously concluded with the words “It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account” - was accurate.

The WAG spat is believed to have already swallowed up £3 million in legal costs, with both women hoping to emerge victorious.

Recap: How ‘Wagatha Christie’ feud started

Tuesday 10 May 2022 08:47 , Josh Salisbury

Proceedings in the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial are due to get underway at 10.30am.

But how did it all start?

On October 9, 2019, Rooney took to Twitter to reveal the results of an investigation she had been conducting for months into what she believed was a friend or acquaintance leaking stories about her and her family to The Sun newspaper.

She said: “To try and prove this, I came up with an idea. I blocked everyone from viewing my Instagram stories except ONE account.

“Over the past five months I have posted a series of false stories to see if they made their way into the Sun newspaper. And you know what, they did!

“Now I know for certain which account / individual it’s come from.I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them.It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account”.

Vardy came out fighting, and after apparently calling Rooney herself, issued a statement denying being the source of a leak.

She said: “I never speak to anyone about you as various journalists who have asked me to over the years can vouch for.

She added: “I liked you a lot a Coleen and I’m so upset that you have chosen to do this, especially when I’m heavily pregnant. I’m disgusted that I’m even having to deny this”.

Vardy filed a libel claim against Rooney in June 2020, setting to stage for today’s trial.

What kinds of stories were being leaked?

Tuesday 10 May 2022 09:01 , Josh Salisbury

In September 2017, Rooney posted on her private Instagram feed a picture of her children, with the text: “No matter where I am they always follow em, and I hope that lasts forever”. The following day, a Sun story appears alleging marriage troubles.

The following month she posted on to Instagram a picture of husband Wayne and their children in matching pyjamas, and on November 1 The Sun ran a story that mentioned a picture of “Wayne cuddling up to their three sons” while “wearing matching pyjamas”.

And in January 2019, an article appeared in The Sun about a car crash, which Rooney suspected of being leaked.

Spotting a trend, Rooney laid a trap on her Instagram feed, posting stories that she knew were untrue to a dwindling band of private followers, to see if they made their way into the news.

Posts about gender selection and a trip to Mexico appear, followed in August 2019 with a Sun article headlined: “COL’S BABY GIRL BID Coleen Rooney travelled to Mexico to look into £8k ‘gender selection’ treatment in desperate bid to have baby girl”.

More Instagram posts follow, which are allegedly only seen by Vardy’s account, featuring bogus stories about a flooded basement at the Rooney home and Coleen’s TV career. The Sun stories that were published will be at the heart of the trial.

Coleen and Wayne Rooney arrive for trial at Royal Courts of Justice

Tuesday 10 May 2022 10:23 , Josh Salisbury

Mrs Rooney arrived at the court, accompanied by her husband, former England star Wayne Rooney.

Wearing a black suit and with her foot in a brace, she entered the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand by the front entrance, flanked by a crowd of photographers.

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Vardy also arrives at court

Tuesday 10 May 2022 10:25 , Josh Salisbury

Rebekah Vardy arrived at court moments after Mrs Rooney entered the building.

Mrs Vardy wore sunglasses and a long blue-buttoned dress.

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Rooney ‘betrayed by Vardy through leaks to media'

Tuesday 10 May 2022 11:01 , Josh Salisbury

Rooney says she was “betrayed” by Vardy through leaks to the media as the ‘Wagatha Christie’ High Court battle got under way, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

Opening the trial, Vardy’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC said: “Mrs Rooney accused Mrs Vardy of leaking stories from her private Instagram account, in a post which immediately went viral.”

He said Mrs Vardy intends to “vindicate her reputation,” claiming the allegation was false.

In opening written submissions at the start of the trial, Rooney barrister David Sherborne said: “This is a case essentially about betrayal.”

He said High Court judge Mrs Justice Steyn must decide whether “it is Coleen Rooney that was betrayed by Rebekah Vardy because she knew Caroline Watt, her PR and close confidante, was leaking Mrs Rooney’s private information to The Sun and condoned this, as well as directly leaking information herself, or whether, instead, it is Mrs Vardy that was betrayed by Caroline Watt because she had leaked this information without Mrs Vardy knowing it and had lied to her by denying all along that she had leaked anything.”

Mr Sherborne asserted that Rooney’s “sting operation”, by placing false stories on Instagram to see if they ended up in the newspaper while whittling down her followers, had come up with an accurate culprit.

He claimed Vardy “was responsible for regularly abusing her status as a trusted follower of (Rooney’s) personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun of (Rooney’s) private posts and stories, and critically, that this was part of her history and practice of providing private information to the press.”

Rooney sat with her husband Wayne on the front row of the court as the trial commenced, while Vardy, accompanied by one of her legal team, was position on the same row around three metres away.

Rooney, wearing a black suit and with her foot in a brace, arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice just a few moments before Vardy, donning sunglasses and a dark-coloured dress, swept into the building surrounded by security.

Rooney is thought to have suffered a fractured foot in an accident at her home in March.

Vardy ‘subject to abuse’ over ‘false’ allegations - lawyer

Tuesday 10 May 2022 11:03

In his opening written submissions, Mr Tomlinson said: “As a result of the post, Mrs Vardy and her family were subjected to abuse and threats. She was jeered and heckled at football matches and was the butt of endless jokes and further accusations. But the allegation in the post was and remains false.”

He said the dispute has been “trivialised” in the media and dubbed “WAG wars”, but insisted the impact had been high on Vardy, who was pregnant at the time of the initial application.

“Mrs Vardy needs to clear her name in order to ever be given a chance to move on from this horrendous episode”, he added.

Vardy ‘subjected to jeers and heckles’, says her barrister

Tuesday 10 May 2022 11:57 , Josh Salisbury

Vardy says she has been subjected to jeers and heckles at football matches and “was the butt of endless jokes” after the Rooney Instagram allegation was first published, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts Correspondent.

Setting out her case, her barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC said in his written opening statement the claim that Vardy was leaking stories to the media “was and remains false”.

“Mrs Vardy had not leaked information about Mrs Rooney or her friends and family to the Sun newspaper from her Private Instagram account. Mrs Rooney did not have the ‘irrefutable’ evidence that she claimed to have had”, he wrote.

“Her so-called ‘careful investigation’ was nothing of the sort. If anyone had been leaking information from Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram this was not done with Mrs Vardy’s knowledge or approval.”

He pointed out Vardy was “heavily pregnant” at the time and had no notice of the allegation that was coming at her.

“(Rooney) chose instead to publicly reveal Mrs Vardy as the culprit in a dramatic post crafted in the style of a ‘whodunnit’”, he said.

“Mrs Vardy made strenuous but unsuccessful attempts to settle the case but the post was not taken down.

“As result, Mrs Vardy had no choice but to bring this libel action to establish her innocence and vindicate her reputation. Her reputation has been very seriously damaged by this false and defamatory allegation which was designed to achieve maximum impact and succeeded in its aim.”

Mr Tomlinson told the court the dispute has been “trivialised in some media coverage as ‘WAG wars’, with Rooney’s fake Instagram posts amounting to “low value gossip”.

“The impact of the post on Mrs Vardy was far from trivial”, he argued.

“It has – as was inevitable given Mrs Rooney’s public profile and the sensational nature of the allegation made - been republished in the national media, and on social media on many thousands of occasions, to many millions of readers.

“Although the media, as they are entitled to do, have turned this case into an entertainment, it is not, from Mrs Vardy’s point of view, entertaining.

“It has been, and continues to be, deeply upsetting in circumstances where she was not the person who leaked information about Mrs Rooney. Mrs Vardy needs to clear her name in order to ever be given a chance to move on from this horrendous episode.”

Rooney is relying on a defence of truth and contests the idea that the allegation caused “serious harm” to Vardy’s reputation, and Rooney intends to build her case on Vardy’s alleged close relationship with journalists at The Sun.

“Mrs Vardy knows that Mrs Rooney and her husband have been sorely mistreated by the tabloid press for many years”, said Mr Tomlinson. “There have been numerous leaks of information about them from unnamed sources and doubtless these leaks have caused them serious concern and have been investigated.”

When, in February 2019, Vardy first believed she was suspected of leaking stories by Rooney, she sent WhatsApp messages to her agent and friend, Caroline Watt, saying: “She thinks it’s me that’s been doing stories on her! Of all the people on her Instagram ffs! Leanne brown etc x”

Vardy added: “That c*** needs to get over herself!” and continued: “Someone on her Instagram regularly sells stories on her though x - What a joke! All I’ve ever been is nice to her though! Even when Wayne was being a c***”.

“Mrs Vardy does not know who was providing information from Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram posts and stories to the Sun. All she knows is that it was not her”, said Mr Tomlinson.

He said Vardy did not believe Ms Watt was the source, but now says she “does not know” whether that is true, after Ms Watt withdrew her cooperation with the legal case.

“If Ms Watt did provide this information to the Sun she did it without Mrs Vardy’s knowledge or approval”, he added.

The trial continues and is expected to last seven days.

Rooney’s barrister sets out how ‘Wagathie Christie’ sting was carried out

Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:03 , Josh Salisbury

In his written submissions, David Sherborne, for Rooney, set out the way the ‘Wagatha Christie’ sting operation was carried out, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts Correspondent:

“(She) had suffered a number of leaks of her private Instagram account, where a follower of hers had been leaking stories on the account, meant for her select friends only, to The Sun.

“The post was the culmination of an investigation undertaken by (Rooney) to identify the culprit. In order to identify the source of the leaks, (she) published a number of stories on her private Instagram account in order to discover where the leak was coming from: a story about gender selection in Mexico; a story about (her) returning to television presenting, and a story about the basement flooding in (the Rooney family’s) new house.

“All three posts were false: deliberate plants to uncover the leaker. All three stories later appeared in The Sun.

Mr Sherborne said Rooney had her suspicions and “deliberately limited the accessibility to this one private account, and the Sting Operation stories, to just one of her followers, namely the Claimant’s account, @beckyvardy.

“The fact that these Sting Operation stories also then appeared in The Sun, after access to her private account was limited to just the @beckyvardy account, is the reason why the Defendant published the post which is the subject of this claim.

“She waited until after the third one had appeared in this newspaper so that she had more than one post to rely on as confirming her suspicion.”

Rooney says Vardy “was responsible for regularly abusing her status as a trusted follower of (her) personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun of private posts and stories, and critically, that this was part of her history and practice of providing private information to the press, especially The Sun with whom she and her agent/PR Caroline Watt had a very close relationship or links - to the extent that The Sun itself described the Claimant as a Sun journalist.”

Dispute being treated as entertainment, says Vardy barrister

Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:05 , Josh Salisbury

Hugh Tomlinson said: “The post immediately went viral and became headline news throughout this country and around the world,” writes Tristan Kirk, Courts Correspondent.

“Mrs Vardy was seven months pregnant at the time.

“As a result of the post, Mrs Vardy and her family have been subjected to abuse and threats of a really horrific nature.

“Someone on social media called her an evil rat face, a bitch, and said she should go on to die and her baby deserves to be put in an incinerator.”

Mr Tomlinson decried the fact the dispute had attracted the ‘Wagatha Christie’ tag and was being treated as entertainment, highlighting the presence of the BBC’s Lizo Mzimba in court.

“I heard on the BBC news this morning that this case is being covered by their entertainment correspondent”, he said, drawing laughter from other journalists at the back of court.

He added that merchandise, t-shirts, and Christmas wrapping paper had been created “with Mrs Rooney as Wagatha Christie”, and accused her of “revelling” in the nickname.

“She copied on her mobile phone, we have recently discovered, the photographs people had done mocking her up as Agatha Christie and so on”, he said.

Background: How ‘Wagatha Christie’ sting began

Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:16 , Josh Salisbury

The saga began in September 2017, when Rooney is said to have uploaded a post to Instagram about her marriage, which was deleted a few hours later but appears to have been leaked and featured in a Sun article, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts Correspondent.

In October 2017, Rooney published two posts about birthday messages to husband Wayne from their children, and on October 31, 2017, Rooney uploaded two posts about Halloween and one of Wayne Rooney in bed with their children wearing spotted pyjamas, in support of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

An article then appeared in The Sun on November 1, 2017, with “sources” confirmed Rooney’s relationship with her husband was “back on”.

There was a reference to the pyjamas social media post, it is said, as well as references to the Halloween content. Also included in the news article was a message from Rooney’s son, saying: “We love you so much Dad! Thank you for all that you do for us”.

It was on that day that Rooney fired the “First Warning shot” on her private Instagram feed, at first saying: “The GRASS strikes again!” and referring to The Sun as “that HORRIBLE newspaper”.

Background: How ‘Wagatha Christie’ sting began

Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:23 , Josh Salisbury

Then, in January 2019, Rooney posted on Instagram a picture of a damaged car with the caption “half a Honda”, prompting messages between Vardy and her agent Ms Watt, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts Correspondent:

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“Am I imagining this or did you say yesterday that Coleen had crashed her Honda?”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“She defo has…Go in the Instagram”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“She must have taken whatever it is down as it’s not there now…image omitted”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“She’s a nasty b***”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“She’s trash”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“I’ve taken a big dislike to her! She thinks she’s amazing…Would love to leak those stories”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“She’s so up her own a***…I would have tried to have done a story on Coleen but the evidence has been deleted”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“Wonder why she deleted it!”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“What was it?”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“A pic of the side of the car knackered”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“Can you remember what the caption said or wasn’t there one?”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“Yeah it was something like goodbye half a Honda”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“I bet she was buzzing…I suppose it would be a guess to say she crashed it but I could try it”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“Halls is trying to do a story on Coleen crashing her car but her PR won’t even reply. I’ve told him I’m 100% confident that it happened but don’t know how”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“Haha she defo did”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“is that the same as the damage that Coleen posted?”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“Yeah that’s it! Different pic though…2 mins I’ll call you”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“Yeh I told him it was a close up pic not that one so it’s fine”

Background: How ‘Wagatha Christie’ sting began

Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:27 , Josh Salisbury

Later, on 25 January 2019, an article by Andy Halls appeared in The Sun, quoting a source saying that Mrs Rooney “narrowly escaped injury” in a “nasty accident which happened close to where she lives with her husband”, writes Courts Correspondent, Tristan Kirk.

The same day, Rooney posted a screenshot of the news article on Instagram with caption: “Someone on here is selling stories again to this scum of a paper”.

Following the article, Vardy was removed as a follower by Rooney, allegedly prompting this message from Vardy to Ms Watt: “She thinks it’s me that’s been doing stories on her! Of all the people on her Instagram ffs! Leanne brown etc etc…That c*** needs to get over herself”.

The High Court is set to pick over Rooney’s ‘sting operation’ which began when she blocked all followers but Vardy and in April posted about ‘Gender Selection’.

These are the text messages that followed between Vardy and Ms Watt:

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“Coleen’s Instagram 😉 wonder if they are going for baby 5”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“I already saw it. I can’t believe she posted it”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“I know! Although maybe it isn’t that because she’s with her brother and his Mrs and all the kids”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“possibly”

Ms Vardy to Ms Watt“Maybe she’s just put it to see if anyone gives it to the media”

Ms Watt to Ms Vardy“I think that may be the case, so attention seeking either way”

On 15 August 2019 The Sun published an article by Andy Halls entitled “Coleen Rooney travelled to Mexico to look into £8K ‘gender selection’ treatment in desperate bid to have baby girl’.

A second fake story about a flooded basement was uploaded to Rooney’s private account on October 2, 2019, which became a story in the Sun six days later.

The Wagatha Christie post went up on October 9, 2019, when Rooney says she was sure that Vardy’s account was responsible for the press leaks.

Vardy ‘accepts agent may have leaked stories’

Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:34 , Josh Salisbury

Rebekah Vardy 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.

Outlining her case, barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC said Vardy had previously maintained that neither her nor Ms Watt had been the “leaker”, but since Ms Watt retracted her statement and withdrew from the case that position as changed.

“She doesn’t know what to think”, he said. “She accepts it’s possible Ms Watt was the source of some details of the stories or had some involvement in leaking information from Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account.

“As Mrs Rooney must have known, as Mrs Vardy’s PR, Ms Watt had access to her Instagram account.

“If the position is Ms Watt was the source of the stories, that’s not something Mrs Vardy knew anything about and certainly wasn’t something she approved of or authorised Ms Watt to do.

“This doesn’t mean this is the collapse of her case – it actually makes no change to her case.

“It is, and always has been, her case that she didn’t leak Mrs Rooney’s information from her private Instagram account to The Sun, whether directly or using the agency of a third party.

“Previously she was able to say ‘I didn’t do it, Ms Watt didn’t do it, it must have come from someone else’. Now she is not sure of the second part.

“She is not able to say of her friend, she’s the leaker. She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know whether Ms Watt was doing it without her knowledge.

“All she can tell the court is what she did and what she knew.”

Vardy is accused by Rooney of orchestrating a “conspiracy of deletion” of WhatsApp messages and potential evidence, said Mr Tomlinson, but she insists “there was no such campaign of deletion”.

“The reason there is no direct evidence against Mrs Vardy is because she didn’t do it”, he said.

‘Vardy is not the secret WAG’

Tuesday 10 May 2022 12:53 , Josh Salisbury

Mr Tomlinson launched a broadside against suggestions that Rebekah Vardy was the source for The Sun’s ‘Secret WAG’ column, suggesting it may have been invented by a journalist rather than being fuelled by a footballer’s wife, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

He said Rooney’s case relied on the allegation that Vardy was the source of the column, painting it as an insider’s revelation equivalent to Lady Whistledown in TV show Bridgerton.

But he pointed to a Secret WAG story about the Wagatha Christie battle which suggested Rooney had “played a blinder” and will “come out on top”.

“This is apparently a column written by Mrs Vardy”, Mr Tomlinson observed wryly.

“Perhaps it’s said it is part of a subtle ploy on her part, trying to put people off the scent by attacking herself.

“That’s absurd.”

He continued: “The Secret Wag column doesn’t contain any private information at all.

“Far be it from me to criticise The Sun, but it’s a recycling of old material from the public domain”, he said.

“There are a few made up stories, generic material of people not named doing some things that are very bad, which sometimes does happen – not any of my clients.”

He said the column “reads like a journalistic invention, it reads like there is no such thing as a Secret Wag.

“Who knows? Mrs Vardy certainly doesn’t. She doesn’t know how the column is put together.

“She doesn’t have a relationship with Sun journalists that involves them revealing the inner most secrets of how they write their material.

“In the unlikely event that there is a real Secret Wag, it isn’t Mrs Vardy.”

Afternoon session begins

Tuesday 10 May 2022 14:05 , Michael Howie

The trial is getting back under way after a break for lunch.

Rooney ‘revelled in attention from Wagatha Christie story’ - Vardy’s barrister

Tuesday 10 May 2022 14:49 , Josh Salisbury

Coleen Rooney took screenshots of herself as Agatha Christie and Miss Marple, and mocked-up adventures of the Scooby Doo gang in the wake of her public ‘Wagatha Christie’ accusation against Rebekah Vardy, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts Correspondent.

Vardy’s lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson QC, said Rooney cannot claim to have acted in the public interest, as she was exposing a complaint about use of her private Instagram account and messages.

He accused Rooney of “revelling” in the social media response, and keeping copies of some of the jokes on her phone.

“She screenshotted Agatha Christie, herself as Miss Marple, and someone had done a sequence from Scooby Doo when they unmasked the masked villain, and she had screenshotted that.

“That’s relevant to the public interest defence – it shows her state of mind at the time of publication.

“She wasn’t congratulating herself on having exposed a matter of public interest," Tomlinson said. "She was revelling in the attention of the Agatha Christie story."

‘It’s like hiring a hitman’, says Rooney lawyer of alleged Vardy leaks

Tuesday 10 May 2022 14:55 , Josh Salisbury

Rebekah Vardy was likened to someone hiring a hitman as Coleen Rooney’s lawyer argued the WAG is responsible for leaks to The Sun newspaper, even if she “hadn’t got her hands dirty”, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

Opening her case, Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne accused Vardy of being equally responsible, with her PR agent Caroline Watt, of leaking private Instagram posts to journalists.

“Like any good detective story, you never find the person responsible standing over the body with the smoking gun in hand”, he told Mrs Justice Steyn.

“There’s inference, there’s circumstance, probability, and likelihood, and ultimately they all add up so the finger will point to the right suspect or suspects, so it’s clearly them.”

Drawing the murder analogy to Vardy’s alleged allowing Ms Watt access to her Instagram account and being complicit in leaks to The Sun, Mr Sherborne said: “It’s like hiring a hitman or woman.

“Just because you are not the person who gets their hands dirty, it doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible or equally responsible.”

He said if Vardy “gave Ms Watt the gun and bullets, told her who to target and where it was to happen”, that makes her equally culpable.

Mr Sherborne said Rooney did not want to write the 2019 accusatory post at all, and would rather not be in the High Court this week.

“She didn’t want to write it, any more than she doesn’t want to be here. She had to, because it’s the truth”, he said.

“Someone she thought she could trust…had been secretly passing on information from it to a newspaper.”

He said leaks are “deeply upsetting” and “makes you feel paranoid”, and Rooney had been forced to investigate her circle of “trusted” friends to find the culprit.

Sherborne: ‘Independent witness claims Vardy knew about Sun stories leak’

Tuesday 10 May 2022 15:14 , Josh Salisbury

An independent witness has come forward to give evidence that Vardy “knew about” stories being leaked to The Sun newspaper, Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne told the court, writes Tristan Kirk, Courts correspondent.

He said Penelope Adaarewa, a PR consultant, contacted Rooney over Instagram because she “felt it was unjust” that Vardy was suing her.

She had, said Mr Sherborne, been at a meeting in October 2019 – just after the Wagatha Christie allegation was first made – with a well-known media PR and Danny Howard, the owner of the Splash photography agency.

“Mr Hayward suggested at the meeting that Mrs Vardy knew about the use of her Instagram account for the leaking of stories to The Sun, but was sticking to her story that she knew nothing”, he said of Ms Adaarewa’s evidence.

Rooney’s barrister accuses Vardy of ‘deleting material'

Tuesday 10 May 2022 15:58 , Michael Howie

Rooney’s barrister accused Vardy of mounting a “concerted effort to ensure highly relevant and incriminating documents don’t find their way to us”.

He mentioned Ms Watt’s being dropped into the North Sea, the loss of data from Jamie Vardy’s WhatsApp account, and lost data from Ms Watt’s account.

Mr Sherborne said they had been frustrated in the pursuit of evidence by deleted messages on Vardy’s electronic devices, including messages between her and Sun journalist Andy Halls.

“It seems clear Mrs Vardy is responsible for deliberately deleting relevant material”, he said.

“Those deletions were deliberately done by Mrs Vardy. I’m stating the obvious when I say one would only delete them if a, you are guilty, and b, you are trying to conceal the incriminating evidence that proves it.”

Vardy denied deliberately deleting material, and her barrister this morning called the allegations “absurd”.

Mr Sherborne also told the High Court that messages that were recovered, between Vardy and Ms Watt, show they leaked stories to the media and “concocted” an alibi if Rooney found out.

In February 2019, Mr Sherborne added, when Rooney had first raised the possibility of her Instagram stories being passed on to the media, Ms Watt wrote: “If she does try to say it or that it was me and it’s undeniably obvious what we’ll do is say I left the company I was working for in jan and one of the girls in the office has my old laptop that had your passwords saved on it so it will have been them and now you will have to change everything.”

In response, Vardy said: “Ok! Just don’t know how she ever would know that unless halls has leaked it in which case please don’t give him the [Mr X] stuff x”.

The ‘Mr X’ material is said to be information about a England player fathering a child in an extramarital affair.

Mr Sherborne said the alleged alibi was used in October 2019 by Vardy, in a public statement after Rooney’s allegation had been posted online.

Later, the barrister said there is evidence that Vardy was outed as a source for the Secret Wag column in an email exchange between Danielle Lloyd’s agent and the news editor of the MailOnline.

“Mrs Vardy had the means – access to Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account, she had the opportunity through links to journalists at The Sun, and she had the motive to secretly pass on information from Mrs Rooney’s account in the way we say she did.

“When you follow it through, you reach the answer that Mrs Vardy was responsible for secretly passing on information which is the subject of this case.”

Mr Sherborne called Vardy “fame-hungry”, and suggested to the court that the Wag had been “monitoring” Rooney’s Instagram account.

Rebekah Vardy sworn in as a witness

Tuesday 10 May 2022 15:59 , Michael Howie

Rebekah Vardy has been sworn in as a witness in the court room.

‘I didn’t leak anything to anyone'

Tuesday 10 May 2022 16:07 , Michael Howie

Rebekah Vardy denied ever leaking stories to the media as she started her evidence in the Wagatha Christie libel trial.

Opening her evidence, Vardy agreed that secretly leaking information “is wrong”, would be upsetting for the victim, and would “worse if that information went to a newspaper.

“Yes it is”, she told the court, “but I didn’t give any information to a newspaper”.

Agreeing that a leaker would go down in the public estimation if identified, Vardy denied ever doing it: “I’ve been called a leak and it’s not nice.”

She then restated: “I didn’t leak anything to anyone.”

Softly spoken Vardy had to be asked twice by barrister David Sherborne to speak up as she tackled the questions.

Vardy quizzed about Peter Andre ‘sex’ interview

Tuesday 10 May 2022 16:40 , Michael Howie

In 2004 Vardy was featured in a double page spread in the News of the World, revealing details of sex with singer Peter Andre and making a cruel jibe about his “chipolata” manhood.

Questioned about the incident, 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.

“I was forced into a situation by my ex-husband to do this story, it’s something I deeply regret, and something that’s very much part of my past”, she said.

“It’s not nice to read, I’ve dealt with this, I understand why this is being used. To me, this is mudslinging, I was always threatened with mudslinging by Mrs Rooney’s team.

“I went through a terrible relationship, it was horrible and abusive, and I was forced into a situation.”

The court heard Vardy’s ex-husband complained to the press regulator Ipso over her public pronouncements that she had been forced into the story, and his complaint was upheld.

Vardy 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.”

Vardy told the court it would have been “wrong” if her agent Caroline Watt had used her Instagram account to look at other private accounts, and accepted she would be responsible if she knew that was happening.

“Yes, but I didn’t know that’s what was happening”, she told the court.

David Sherborne, for Rooney, replied: “So you say, Mrs Vardy, so you say.”

Trial finishes for the day

Tuesday 10 May 2022 17:02 , Michael Howie

The court has ended for the day. The trial will resume tomorrow.

Vardy set to continue her evidence in the morning

Tuesday 10 May 2022 17:04 , Michael Howie

Rebekah Vardy will return to the witness stand at 10.30am tomorrow.

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