Caroline Watt’s iPhone ended up in the water during a family boat trip, and was unable to be used as evidence in the “Wagatha Christie” libel case between Vardy and Coleen Rooney, who made headlines in 2019 when she sensationally claimed that “Rebekah Vardy’s account” had been sharing stories from her private Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.
Vardy, who is married to Leicester City player Jamie, denied the claims and sued Rooney, the wife of former England and Manchester United star Wayne, for libel.
During the headline-grabbing defamation case, Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne claimed that the incident was “far from an accident” and suggested that it was part of an attempt to “cover up incriminating evidence”.
The phone was also name-checked in one of the most memorable episodes from the “Wagatha Christie” trial, when Sherborne alleged that potentially important messages were “lying at the bottom of the sea in Davy Jones’ locker”, prompting Vardy to ask: “Who is Davy Jones?”
Now Watt’s husband Steve, the manager of Kent football team Hythe Town, has stepped in to “set the record straight” about the incident, stressing that his wife dropped the phone “purely by accident” during a “drizzly day in Aberdeenshire”.
“As far as I was concerned, the court case was the end of it but it’s being brought up again by people in the public eye,” he told The Sun. “I’m sick of reading and hearing inaccurate things about it.
“This wasn’t a luxury yacht in Dubai; this was a drizzly day in Aberdeenshire. The sea was choppy, and Caroline dropped the phone purely by accident.”
The former Chelsea player said that he and his wife “wish we’d never, ever set foot on the boat” and explained that Caroline had been standing by the railings and taking a video of a seal on her phone when the boat made a “jolt”, prompting her to drop the device into the water.
He added that Caroline has osteoarthritis which is “very painful in her right thumb” and can cause her hand to “seize up” in cold weather.
Caroline had been due to give evidence in support of Vardy in the libel case, but her witness statement was withdrawn before the trial began due to illness.
Steve added that this was “his decision”, explaining: “It got to the point where she wasn’t well enough. One evening I emailed the solicitors and removed everything relating to her that I could from the case.”
Mrs Justice Steyn eventually ruled in Rooney’s favour, deciding that her original social media post was “substantially true”.
Rooney welcomed the verdict but emphasised that the case was not something she had “ever sought or wanted”.
Vardy said: “It is not the result that I had expected, nor believe was just. I brought this action to vindicate my reputation and am devastated by the judge’s finding.”
The “Wagatha Christie” case has so far inspired a TV docu-drama from Channel 4 and a West End play, as well as a new Disney+ documentary from Rooney, titled Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story.
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