Wagatha Christie: Cast of characters in the Rebekah Vardy vs Coleen Rooney trial

From pop star Peter Andre to television personality Danielle Lloyd - who’s who in the High Court libel trial?

Holly Bancroft
Thursday 19 May 2022 17:45
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Rebekah Vardy tells court she did not leak stories about Coleen Rooney

Across seven days at the High Court, the personal lives of Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney have been picked apart with eviscerating care by the country’s top libel lawyers.

“The genie of confidentiality cannot be put back in the bottle once the defence has been filed,” Ms Rooney’s legal team warned ahead of trial, but Ms Vardy pressed ahead regardless - eager to prove that she did not leak Ms Rooney’s private information to The Sun.

Like a tornado sucking in debris, the libel trial has enveloped more and more people daily. Pop star Peter Andre had the size of his manhood discussed in court, model Danielle Lloyd was referred to as a “b****”, and yet others - who had never had a day’s publicity before - found themselves supporting acts in the unfolding drama.

Here are the bystanders in the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial:

Pop star Peter Andre

If Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy’s trial was a performance, Peter Andre was certainly in a supporting role.

On Day One of the trial, Rebekah Vardy was quizzed by Ms Rooney’s lawyers about an interview she gave to the now-defunct News of The World. Lawyer David Sherborne held out an A3 printout of the article to Ms Vardy in the witness box before reading the headline: “Peter’s hung like a small chipolata, shaved, slobbery, lasts five minutes.”

The barrister read excerpts from the article, which claimed former pop star Mr Andre had “the smallest trouser equipment I’ve ever seen”.

Ms Vardy said that she had been forced by her ex-husband to sell the story to the tabloid paper, something her ex-husband has always denied. He won a complaint on the matter with the press regulator Ipso afterThe Sun on Sunday published the allegation in 2017.

Ms Vardy told the court the interview was “one of my biggest regrets”. Mr Andre dramatically hit back at the re-surfaced interview, telling his Instagram followers: “It’s been the butt of all jokes. I’ve taken it for 15 years.”

Peter Andre speaks out about Rebekah Vardy ‘chipolata’ jibe

Ms Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt

Conspicious in her absence, Rebekah Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt has been a running thread throughout the trial.

Her Whatsapp messages with Ms Vardy have been a key part of the evidence and have been read out daily. Both sides agree that Ms Watt had access to Ms Vardy’s Instagram account and, on the basis of the messages, was apparently passing information on to journalists.

When discussing the fall-out from a story byThe Sun about Coleen Rooney crashing her Honda, Ms Watt told Ms Vardy she was the source of the leak. “And it wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me :),” she said.

Ms Watt is apparently too ill to testify as a witness at the trial and her phone, along with the evidence on it, is “lying at the bottom of the sea” because Ms Watt dropped it while on a boat trip in Scotland in August 2021.

Rebekah Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt is too ill to attend the hearing

Model and former footballer’s wife Danielle Lloyd

On day two of the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial, Ms Vardy was quizzed about whether the “nasty b****” she was referring to in a Whatsapp message to her agent, Caroline Watt, was Coleen Rooney or television personality Danielle Lloyd.

Ms Vardy maintained that she was talking about Ms Lloyd, the former wife of ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie O’Hara.

In messages shown to court, Ms Vardy wrote to Ms Watt: “She’s a nasty b****.”

“She’s trash x,” Ms Watt replied. To which, Ms Vardy said: “I’ve taken a big dislike to her! She thinks she’s amazing x. Would love to leak those stories x”.

Rebekah Vardy called Danielle Lloyd a ‘nasty b****’ in messages

Footballer Danny Drinkwater

As part of Ms Rooney’s defence her lawyers tried to paint Ms Vardy as having a close relationship with The Sun. They alleged that Ms Vardy regularly passed on titbits of gossip and story tips to the tabloid paper - something they said makes it more likely that she would be behind the ‘Wagatha Christie’ leak.

A key example was Ms Vardy’s attempt to get paid for a story about footballer Danny Drinkwater’s car crash in April 2019.

Ms Vardy told her agent that she had a story about Mr Drinkwater getting arrested for drink-driving. “He’s only just been let out of the cells x. Last night! x. I want paying for this x,” she said in messages to Caroline Watt.

On finding out that The Sun already knew about it, Ms Vardy messaged: “I’m fuming I didn’t give it to you earlier”.

Rebekah Vardy passed on information about Danny Drinkwater’s car crash

Former Leicester City player Riyad Mahrez

In another example of Ms Vardy apparently trying to pass information to the press, the court heard that the model discussed leaking a story about former Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez missing training to the media.

“Mahrez not turned up to training again. Lads are fuming x,” Ms Vardy messaged her agent in February 2018. Caroline Watt suggested telling Rob Dorsett, a Sky News sports reporter, to which Ms Vardy replied: “Just don’t want it coming back on me x”.

Ms Watt suggested: “I can tell someone”, and Ms Vardy said: “Yeah do it”.

The court heard Rebekah Vardy passed on information about Riyad Mahrez missing training

FA family liaison officer Harpreet Robertson

Before FA officer Harpreet Robertson came to give testimony on Day Five of the trial, Ms Vardy had already made it very clear what she thought of her.

“You’re pulling a face again Mrs Vardy. Why are you pulling a face?” Mrs Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne had asked in a moment of cross-examination.

“Because it’s Mrs Robertson again,” Ms Vardy replied. “Well I’ll let your counsel to put that face to her when she comes to give evidence,” Mr Sherborne quipped.

Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy in the stands during the Euro 2016

Ms Vardy’s reaction was perhaps because Ms Robertson had said the reality star’s evidence was “simply untrue”. In her witness statement, Ms Robertson said that the model and her guests had sat in the wrong seats at England’s Euro 2016 match against Wales and refused to move when challenged.

“I asked them to move but they refused and were incredibly rude and abusive to me, remarking words to the effect of “we can sit where we like, f*** off”, she said.

Referring to Ms Vardy, Ms Robertson continued: “It appeared that she wanted to be sat in the seats that were right in the eyeline of anyone looking at, or photographing, Coleen.” Ms Vardy denied this.

Mythical character Davy Jones

In a lighter moment in the trial, Rebekah Vardy asked the court “who’s Davy Jones?” following a nautical reference by Mrs Rooney’s laywer on day three.

Mr Sherborne had accused Ms Vardy of deleting crucial evidence and complained that messages could not be recovered from her agent’s phone because it was “now in Davy Jones’ Locker”. Ms Watt’s phone was dropped into the sea on a boat trip in Scotland last year, the court heard.

Ms Justice Steyn had to clarify what was going on to Ms Vardy, saying “it’s an expression”. Davy Jones’ Locker is a metaphor for the bottom of the sea, where drowned sailors and shipwrecks ultimately go and it was popularised by the film franchise Pirates of the Caribbean.

Rebeka Vardy became upset during the first days of the trial when talking about online abuse she received

Harry Maguire’s girlfriend Fern Hawkins

Harry Maguire’s fiancee was drawn into the battle between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney on day one of the trial. The court heard that Fern Hawkins was “upset and embarassed” when Ms Vardy allegedly helped to stage a paparazzi photo of the England ‘Wags’ at the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Testimony from FA liaison officer Ms Robertson, read out to court, claimed that Ms Hawkins had been annoyed by the photo. “Fern later expressed her upset to me that she had taken part and commented that she was embarrassed, wasn’t prepared and hadn’t expected to be put in that position,” she said.

Frn Hawkins told the court about her time with the England players’ wives and girlfriends at the Russia World Cup

Jamie Vardy

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy made a dramatic entry to his wife’s High Court trial on day six, holding hands with Ms Vardy as they arrived. He missed all of his wife’s testimony but arrived to see former England teammate Wayne Rooney take to the witness stand.

Mr Rooney told the High Court that he had had an “awkward” conversation with Mr Vardy to get his wife to “calm down” her media activities during Euro 2016 at the request of England manager Roy Hodgson.

Outside court, Mr Vardy hit back and accused Mr Rooney of being “confused”. He said in a statement: “Wayne is talking nonsense. He must be confused because he never spoke to me about issues concerning Becky’s media work at Euro 2016.”

Jamie Vardy denies Wayne Rooney spoke to him about his wife

Wayne Rooney

When pressed by Ms Vardy’s lawyer on whether his “awkward” conversation with Mr Vardy really took place, Mr Rooney responded: “I’m sat here under oath. I 100 percent spoke to Mr Vardy about this situation”.

He also said that Coleen had “become a different mother, a different wife” because of the stress of the libel trial. “I’ve watched my wife over the last two, two and half years, really struggle with everything that’s gone on.”

“It’s been very traumatic,” he added. Mr Rooney turned up to every day of the trial alongside his wife and revealed that he was hearing a lot of the evidence for the first time. He said he “didn’t want to get involved” in his wife’s social media sting, adding that she “is an independent woman who does her own thing.”

Wayne Rooney told the court the court proceedings had been very stressful for his wife

Wayne Rooney has been by his wife’s side throughout the trial

Wayne Rooney’s cousin Claire Rooney

Wayne Rooney’s cousin Claire was a defence witness in the trial and spent most of her time on the stand talking about a girls’ getaway she went on with Coleen to Soho Farmhouse. A report about the trip later appeared in The Sun.

Claire Rooney revealed in her witness statement that she believed Ms Vardy’s agent was referring to her when she was speaking about “Wayne’s chavvy sister” in Whatsapp messages to Ms Vardy.

Wayne Rooney’s cousin also gave evidence in the trial

PR executive Penelope Adaarewa

While all the other defence witnesses were known to either Mr or Ms Rooney, Penelope Adaarewa, a PR executive, was not. She got in touch with Ms Rooney’s legal team after the infamous ‘Wagatha Christie’ post to offer what she believed was key evidence - knowledge of a phone call where Splash News photographer Danny Hayward said Ms Vardy had known all about leaks to the press from her Instagram account.

Ms Adaarewa testified that she was in a meeting with a mystery Mr Y - a figure in the media industry - when Mr Hayward, who was meant to be there in person, was called and put on speaker phone. Mr Hayward has previously been named in the trial as the boss of Ms Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt.

Rebekah Vardy has always denied leaking information about Coleen Rooney

Referring to Ms Vardy’s Instagram account, Ms Adaarewa said: “I specifically recall Danny saying that others knew he had a means of access to the account and it seemed clear to me that included Becky Vardy.

“In his discussion with Y about the fallout from Mrs Rooney’s recent revelations, I recall he used the words to the effect of ‘but she is sticking to her story that she knew nothing about it’, which he said clearly believing that Mrs Vardy did in fact know all about the passing on of information from her Instagram account and that her denial was disingenuous.”

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