Rebekah Vardy blames IT man for failure to disclose messages in ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel case

Rebekah Vardy has blamed a failure to disclose messages in the “Wagatha Christie” case on an IT man who “forgot a password”.

Mrs Vardy, a model and wife of footballer Jamie Vardy, is locked in a legal dispute with Wayne Rooney’s wife Coleen at the High Court in London.

Mrs Rooney, 36, publicly accused Mrs Vardy, 40, of leaking stories about her private life to the press. Mrs Vardy denies the allegation and is suing for libel.

The case was dubbed Wagatha Christie after the detective author Agatha Christie, as Mrs Rooney used social media sleuthing to uncover Mrs Vardy as the alleged culprit of the leaks.

Lawyers for Mrs Rooney requested disclosure of communications between Mrs Vardy and her agent, Caroline Watt, who the court heard was a “conduit” through which leaks were made.

However, David Sherborne, representing Mrs Rooney, said the request had been “frustrated” and this had “seriously prejudiced” Mrs Rooney’s case.

The court previously heard that Ms Watt’s phone had fallen into the North Sea before further details could be extracted from it.

‘Forgot the password’

At a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, the court heard that an IT expert assigned by Mrs Vardy to extract her WhatsApp data for disclosure had “forgotten the password” he had used to access the material.

Mr Sherborne told the judge: “We are told Mrs Vardy’s expert has forgotten the password he used to encrypt the material.”

He said this means Mrs Rooney’s team only has a “partial picture” of what conversations took place between Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Mrs Vardy, said they had “done our utmost to give proper disclosure”.

Lawyers for Mrs Vardy said her IT expert had not forgotten the password to access the data, but that the one he had used before was now not working.

Sara Mansoori QC told the court: “He wrote the password down in October last year but that password now doesn’t work. There were corruption issues that may be responsible for it.”

‘Established practice’ of leaking private information

Lawyers for Mrs Rooney have applied to the court for communications between Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt, and specific journalists at The Sun newspaper, where stories allegedly leaked by Mrs Vardy were published.

Mr Sherborne said: “We say Mrs Vardy has an established practice and history of leaking private info about others, in particular to The Sun newspaper. We say what Mrs Vardy did to Mrs Rooney is simply part of that established practice. She is a leaker of private information.”

He said the “level of direct and close contact” between the two women and The Sun was “clear”.

Mr Tomlinson said that Ms Watt could not give oral evidence at the libel trial.

In written arguments, Mr Tomlinson said: “The claimant served a witness statement of Caroline Watt with the intention of calling Ms Watt to give oral evidence at the trial.

“The claimant’s solicitors were, however, aware that Ms Watt was in a fragile state and had been expressing serious concerns about giving evidence.”

He added that a consultant forensic psychiatrist produced a report which concluded Ms Watt is not fit to provide oral evidence at the High Court trial.

“In these circumstances, it is clear that Ms Watt cannot be called to give evidence,” he concluded.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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