A court hearing for a libel claim brought by Rebekah Vardy against Coleen Rooney has entered its second day.
reporters Chiara Giordano and Maryam Zakir-Hussain are at London’s High Court, where a two-day hearing this week is to decide what evidence can be used at a trial later this year.
In 2019, Ms Rooney had stories from her personal life leaked to the papers. To find the culprit, she posted fake information to her ella’s Instagram Stories and gradually whittled down her audience to just Ms Vardy’s account of her.
Ms Rooney then claimed it was Ms Vardy who had been leaking stories to The Sun.
Ms Rooney’s investigation gained her the nickname “Wagatha Christie”, based on the term “Wag” referring to wives and girlfriends of high-profile sportsmen.
Ms Vardy – married to Jamie Vardy – rejects the allegations, and claims other people have access to her accounts.
But Ms Vardy had “an established history and practice” of leaking information “not just of [Coleen] Rooney but also others”, Ms Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne said.
Ms Rooney – married to Wayne Rooney – said via her lawyer that Ms Vardy’s then-agent Caroline Watt should be brought into the case.
‘Glitch accidentally revealed messages to Rooney lawyers’ – BBC
A software glitch resulted in Coleen Rooney’s legal team seeing some of the “explosive” WhatsApp messages unredacted by accident, BBC journalist Sanchia Berg has reported.
Rebekah Vardy’s lawyers only found out two months later, she added.
Lamiat Sabin9 February 2022 13:45
Court should hear about Vardy payment from ‘The Sun’, says Rooney lawyer
Coleen Rooney’s barrister has called for financial details of payments Rebekah Vardy received from The Sun to be disclosed as part of the libel case she launched after being accused of leaking stories to the press.
David Sherborne told a high court hearing that Caroline Watt sent Ms Vardy a text saying “I’ve got £500 for you from the Sun” and asking her to send over her bank account details.
A separate message from Ms Vardy to Ms Watt allegedly said: “We still need to make money.”
Mr Sherborne said: “There are a number of ways in which the payment, we say, is relevant to the case.”
The court was shown yesterday Whatsapp messages between Ms Vardy and her former publicist in which the latter admitted to leaking information to the press.
Liam James9 February 2022 13:29
Rebekah Vardy’s former agent admitted leaking stories to press, court hears #ICYMI
Rebekah Vardy’s former agent Caroline Watt admitted to leaking information about Coleen Rooney to the press in a series of Whatsapp messages, the high court hearing was told yesterday.
Ms Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne said that days after a story about her car was published in The SunMs Rooney posted a tweet saying it was “sad” someone who followed her was “betraying” her.
While discussing the tweet in a private WhatsApp conversation, Ms Watt told Ms Vardy “It wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me”, in a message accompanied by a laughing face emoji.
Mr Sherborne said: “What we say is that the inference to be drawn from that is that Mrs Vardy knew perfectly well what she was doing, and was behind it and was encouraging it.”
He said Mrs Vardy and her “sidekick” Ms Watt were routinely looking at Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram stories with a view to having them published.
Liam James9 February 2022 13:10
Vardy and Watt accused of planning ‘cover-up lie’ on WhatsApp
Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne told the court that Rebekah Vardy’s former agent Caroline Watt came up with “the lie” for the first time in a WhatsApp exchange.
Ms Vardy and Ms Watt are alleged to have come up with a “lie” to use “if it became obvious Mrs Vardy was responsible for the leaks, which it did” – Mr Sherborne said.
They are accused of creating this plan after Ms Rooney deleted Ms Vardy as a follower on Instagram following the post about her car crash.
Ms Watt said: “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.”
Ms Vardy replied: “OK. Just don’t know how she [Rooney] would ever know that unless [Sun journalist Andy Halls] you have leaked it. In which case please don’t give him the Mr X stuff.”
Lamiat Sabin9 February 2022 12:40
‘Watt leaked info about Rooney’s damaged car to The Sun’ – lawyer
According to Coleen Rooney’s written case, messages exchanged between Rebekah Vardy and Caroline Watt showed the pair discussing a post on Ms Rooney’s private Instagram where her car had been damaged.
In January 2019, Ms Vardy told Ms Watt she “would love to leak those stories”.
Ms Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne claimed Ms Watt – who was Ms Vardy’s agent at the time – was later responsible for the leak of the story to the newspaper with her client’s approval.
Days after the story about her car was published in The SunMs Rooney posted a tweet saying it was “sad” someone who followed her was “betraying” her.
According to written submissions, while discussing the tweet in a private WhatsApp conversation, Ms Watt told Ms Vardy “it wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me”, in a message accompanied by a laughing emoji.
Lamiat Sabin9 February 2022 12:20
Vardy accused of having ‘history’ as leak of people’s stories
There was “an established history and practice” of Rebekah Vardy leaking private information “not just of [Coleen] Rooney but also others”, the High Court had heard.
Ms Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne alleged that Ms Vardy and her then-agent Caroline Watt “created a lie together” to use “if it became obvious Mrs Vardy was responsible for the leaks, which it did”.
“We say they agreed to this strategy,” he said, referring to the “concoction of the lie”.
Lamiat Sabin9 February 2022 12:00
Vardy’s former agent Watt was ‘direct leak of Rooney’s info’
Rebekah Vardy’s former agent Caroline Watt had been “routinely accessing [Coleen] Rooney’s private Instagram account and then disclosing information from it to a newspaper,” the court heard.
Ms Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne said given the “nature of the act” and the way it was carried out, the “vindication” comes not just in damages but also in the form of the judgment.
Following the disclosure of WhatsApp messages exchanged between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt in court on Tuesday, Mr Sherborne told the court: “Now what we allege is that she was the direct leak.
“She was the person who actively sought out the private information from monitoring.
“She was the one who checked whether it was in the public domain and who leaked that information to The Sun and I say it is that active part that is now clear she played that demonstrates the misuse of private information.”
Lamiat Sabin9 February 2022 11:40
Witness statements ‘not ready yet’ – Rooney’s lawyer
At the start of the hearing today, Ms Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne told the court that the witness statements are not ready.
He said: “The ingredients have not even been stirred yet.”
Lamiat Sabin9 February 2022 11:15
Vardy’s former agent’s phone ‘dropped in North Sea’ – in detail
On Tuesday, the High Court heard that some of the private messages relating to the libel case are missing.
Rebekah Vardy’s former agent Caroline Watt said she had accidentally dropped her phone into the North Sea when the boat she was in had hit a wave.
The alleged incident at sea happened soon after Ms Rooney’s lawyers requested access to the device, the court heard.
Ms Rooney’s legal team said: “Coincidentally, around the same time, all media files from Mrs Vardy’s WhatsApp conversation with Ms Watt also bizarrely disappeared (and from all backups), whilst apparently in the process of exporting it to her solicitors.”
Ms Vardy’s husband Jamie, a Leicester City striker, has said – after Ms Rooney’s lawyers requested access to his phone – that his “WhatsApp was hacked and all conversations were deleted and could not be restored”.
A laptop his wife had used also “no longer functions”, while messages between her and Sun journalist Andy Halls no longer exists.
Lamiat Sabin9 February 2022 11:00
Quick recap of Tuesday’s developments
- The court heard that Vardy described Rooney as a ‘c***’ and a ‘nasty b****’ in WhatsApp messages to her agent Caroline Watt
- Watt had claimed that she accidentally dropped her phone into the North Sea after Rooney’s lawyers requested the device
- Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne said his client felt that Watt should be included in the case
- Sherborne said Watt and Vardy would “routinely” look at Rooney’s Instagram stories with a view to having them published
Lamiat Sabin9 February 2022 10:45
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.