Rebekah Vardy called Coleen Rooney ‘nasty b****’ in WhatsApp to friend after declaring ‘war’ on rival

The ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel case between the two footballers’ wives has returned to the High Court

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 08 February 2022 13:16
<p>Rebekah Vardy (right) is suing Coleen Rooney (left) for libel after she accused her of selling false stories to the press</p>

Rebekah Vardy (right) is suing Coleen Rooney (left) for libel after she accused her of selling false stories to the press

Rebekah Vardy branded Coleen Rooney a “nasty b****” and said she wanted to leak stories about her fellow footballer’s wife in WhatsApp exchanges with her agent, the High Court has heard.

The messages, shown in court, also revealed Ms Vardy declared “war” on Ms Rooney after she was publicly accused of leaking stories about her fellow footballer’s wife to the press.

In an October 2019 Twitter post, the wife of former England star Wayne Rooney, dubbed “Wagatha Christie”, claimed Ms Vardy had shared fake stories she had deliberately posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.

Ms Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie, denies the accusations and is suing Ms Rooney for libel.

At the start of a two-day hearing on Tuesday, the High Court heard WhatsApp messages between Ms Vardy and her PR and friend Caroline Watt, exchanged before Coleen’s public post, had been disclosed ahead of the trial.

On the day of Ms Rooney’s Twitter post which ended “It’s.......... Rebekah Vardy’s account”, Ms Vardy sent a message to Ms Watt, stating: “That’s war.”

Ms Rooney’s lawyers previously claimed Ms Vardy had leaked information to The Sun either directly or through Ms Watt “acting on her instruction or with her knowing approval”.

In written arguments, Ms Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne said: “From the outset, Mrs Vardy has always claimed that neither she nor Ms Watt were involved in the leaking of private information from Mrs Rooney’s Instagram account.

“The recent disclosure has shown that this is emphatically not the case.”

According to Ms Rooney’s written case, messages exchanged between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt in January 2019 showed the pair discussing a post on Ms Rooney’s private Instagram where her car had been damaged.

Ms Vardy told Ms Watt she “would love to leak those stories x”.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy with wife Rebekah Vardy in 2018

Mr Sherborne said Ms Watt was later responsible for the leak of the story to the newspaper, with Ms Vardy’s approval.

Days after the story about her car was published in The Sun, Ms 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.

Mr Sherborne said in written arguments that this “conspicuously elicits neither surprise, contradiction or criticism from Mrs Vardy, who was plainly aware and approved of this leak”.

At the hearing on Tuesday, he added: “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.”

Mr Sherborne told the court Ms Rooney had brought a claim against Ms Watt for misuse of private information, which Ms Watt denies.

The barrister later claimed Ms Vardy had “animosity” towards Ms Rooney which showed “clear motivation for Mrs Vardy to leak private information about Mrs Rooney to the newspaper, with repeated bad-mouthing of her in a way which is clearly consistent with and linked to the desire to leak private information about her”.

In other WhatsApp messages shown in written submissions, Ms Vardy refers to Ms Rooney as a “nasty b****” and “such a d***”.

Manchester United football player Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen Rooney

Mr Sherborne later said in written arguments that a plan was “hatched” between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt over the leaks, which the barrister described as a “classic smoking gun”.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Ms Rooney’s lawyers applied for further information, including from Ms Watt and Ms Vardy’s messages.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Ms Vardy, said the denied allegations have caused her “huge damage and distress”.

In written arguments, the barrister said the information and messages disclosed “provides no evidence that the claimant leaked the three fake posts”.

He added that Ms Rooney “relies upon selective and incomplete WhatsApp exchanges...conveniently ignoring the messages which demonstrate beyond doubt that the claimant was not responsible for leaking the defendant’s private information to The Sun”.

In further WhatsApp messages between her and Ms Watt, Ms Vardy said she had supported Ms Rooney and suggested it was Ms Rooney’s own PR who had leaked stories.

“What a joke! All I’ve ever been is nice to her though! Even when Wayne was being a c*** x,” Ms Vardy wrote.

Coleen Rooney (bottom) and Rebekah Vardy (top)

She later added: “Bet it’s their PR again has to be x... I really can’t see anyone being that arsed with selling stories on her.”

Ian Helme, for Ms Watt, said she had given “clear and consistent” denials against the claim for misuse of private information.

In written arguments, the barrister said it was not only Ms Vardy’s Instagram account that had viewed the post about Ms Rooney’s car, adding that the incident also took place in public.

“It is difficult to see how there could be said to be any reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to such information,” Mr Helme said.

He later said Ms Rooney’s lawyers had taken “an extremely aggressive, confrontational, no-stone-unturned approach”, calling the claim against her an abuse of process.

Mr Helme also said it can be inferred that Ms Rooney’s primary concern is “public opinion, or vindication”.

He continued: “It appears quite clear that the defendant has determined that publicity generated by success in defending the claim against her will far exceed the value of any remedy she could attain as a claimant.”

The trial is due to begin in early May of this year but it is likely this date may change. The hearing before Ms Justice Steyn is due to finish on Wednesday.

More to follow.....

Additional reporting by Press Association

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