Footballer’s wife Rebekah Vardy has lost her defamation lawsuit against Coleen Rooney.
The lawsuit has been dubbed the “WAGatha Christie” case, a nod to the nickname “WAG” given to the glamorous group of footballer wives and acclaimed crime novelists in honor of Rooney’s amateur detective work.
Her collapse in the courtroom has drawn a similar level of fascination and media attention as any of her husbands’ soccer games.
Wayne Rooney holds the record for most international goals for his country, while Rebekah Vardy’s husband Jamie has been one of the top scorers in the English Premier League in recent years and has also played and scored for the national team.
Both women are well-known figures in their own right — Coleen Rooney, 36, has 1.2million followers on Twitter and nearly 925,000 on Instagram — and the defamation case has brought to light the glittering and unflattering aspects of Coleen Rooney’s life with the rich and famous football stars and theirs Familys.
Ms Justice Steyn justified her decision, writing that the “disclosure post” concerned a matter of public interest, “namely, the undesirable practice of informing (in the manner of mere gossip) about the private lives of celebrities disclosed to the press by trusted individuals” . .
She continues: “I also accept that Ms Rooney, having issued several warnings on her private Instagram account as well as a public warning, believed that it was in the public interest to publish the Reveal Post.
“However, I do not accept that the belief was reasonable under all circumstances. In particular, it was unreasonable to believe that it was in the public interest to publish the Reveal Post without taking steps to take the allegation to Ms Vardy and give her an opportunity to respond.
“It is not an answer to this point that Ms Rooney expected Ms Vardy to deny the allegation.
“For the reasons I have given, the lawsuit is dismissed.”
She added; “In my view, the evidence analyzed clearly shows that Ms Vardy was aware of and condoned this behavior and actively participated in it by referring Ms Watt to the private Instagram account [of Coleen Rooney]Send her screenshots of Ms. Rooney’s posts, drawing attention to topics of potential interest for the press, and answering additional questions from the press about Ms. Watt.”
The judge wrote that there was strong evidence that Rebekah Vardy’s Instagram account was not compromised.
She wrote: “There is solid evidence that Ms Vardy’s Instagram account was not compromised.
“Aside from one occasion where Mr Jones was granted access for a day, only Ms Vardy and Ms Watt accessed her account and Ms Vardy knew that was the case.”
Responding today, Coleen Rooney said “of course” that she was “delighted” that the judge ruled in her favor today.
Ms Rooney said it was not a case she had ever “searched for or wanted”.
“I never believed that in a time of need for so many people it should have gone to court at such a cost when the money could have been much better spent helping others,” she said.
“Both before and after my social media posts in October 2019, I made every effort to avoid the need for such a lengthy and public trial. All my attempts to do so were repulsed by Mrs (Rebekah) Vardy.
“This left me with no choice but to pursue the case to defend myself and stop the repeated leaking of my private information to The Sun.
“These leaks from my private Instagram account started in 2017. They lasted almost two years and invaded my privacy and that of my family. While I have no ill will toward Ms Vardy, today’s verdict makes it clear that I was right in what I said in my October 2019 posts.
“Finally, I would like to thank my entire legal team, family, friends and everyone who has supported me during this difficult and stressful time, including the public.”
The intrigue began almost three years ago when Rooney became suspicious of stories that appeared in the Sun tabloid that contained information she had posted on her personal Instagram account. She became a detective to find out who the culprit was.
She said she blocked everyone but one person from viewing her account and then posted a series of fake stories to see if they leaked what she said.
Writing on her social media accounts that only one person saw the wrong stories, she concluded with the dramatic revelation, “It’s … Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
“I haven’t leaked anything,” Vardy said during May’s High Court hearings in London.
Vardy, who says the result of Rooney’s public appearance was that she and her family received insults and threats, has accepted that her agent Caroline Watt could be responsible for the leaks but denies instructing her to do so.
The court was shown the exchange of messages she had with Watt, which included some derogatory remarks about Rooney, while Rooney’s attorney said Vardy deleted other media files and WhatsApp messages.
Meanwhile, Watt’s phone ended up at the bottom of the North Sea after she accidentally dropped it over the side of a boat.
“Like any good crime novel, the person responsible never stands over the corpse with a smoking gun in hand,” David Sherborne, Rooney’s attorney, told the court.
In February this year, Ms Vardy said in a tearful appearance on ITV’s Loose Women that the stress of the argument caused her to have severe anxiety attacks and “landed her in hospital three times”.
Ms Rooney released a statement saying she did not want to “engage in any further public debate”.
In June of the same year, it emerged that Ms Vardy was instituting defamation proceedings against Ms Rooney.
Ms Vardy’s lawyers stated that she “suffered extreme distress, pain, fear and embarrassment” as a result of the publication of the post and the events that followed.
Then, at a preliminary court hearing in February this year, a series of explosive messages between Ms Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt, which Ms Rooney’s lawyers claim related to her, was revealed.
The court is told that Ms Vardy was not referring to Ms Rooney when she called someone a “nasty bitch” in an exchange with Ms Watt.
Ms Rooney’s lawyers sought more information from the WhatsApp messages, but the court was told Ms Watt’s phone had fallen in the North Sea after a boat she was on hit a wave before further information could be extracted from it.
In April, the court was told that Ms Watt was unable to testify orally in the forthcoming defamation trial.
The agent revoked permission to use her testimony and withdrew her waiver, which would have allowed Sun journalists to say if she was a source of the allegedly leaked stories.
Ms Vardy “later appears to accept” that her agent was the source of alleged leaked stories, Ms Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne told the High Court.
He argued that new testimony from Ms Vardy suggested Ms Watt was the source, but Ms Vardy claims she “did not authorize or condone it”.
Ms Vardy’s lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, said the statement contained “no change in the case brought” as her legal team had no communications with Ms Watt.
On May 10, Ms Vardy and Ms Rooney faced each other in court as the trial of their libel battle took place in the Royal Courts of Justice in London before Ms Justice Steyn. Both women are testifying as revelations from the case made daily headlines in the press.
Ms Vardy was put through her paces for three days by Ms Rooney’s legal eagle David Sherborne, who repeatedly accused Ms Vardy of “lying” under oath.
“You’re making that up, aren’t you, Ms. Vardy?” and “That’s a lie, isn’t it?” he stated on numerous occasions.
“No, I’m not lying at all,” Ms Vardy replied while making a switch at a point Mr Sherborne took advantage of.
In an exchange of messages with Ms Watt, Rebekah Vardy said: “If I’m honest, I can’t remember.”
“I’d much prefer you to be honest because you’re on a stand at a trial,” Mr. Sherborne replied.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/britain/wagatha-christie-rebekah-vardy-loses-libel-trial-against-coleen-rooney-41876782.html Wagatha Christie Verdict: Rebekah Vardy loses Coleen Rooney defamation lawsuit