As it happenedended1652284016

Rebekah Vardy news – live: Coleen Rooney’s ex-friend cries in dock over online abuse

Wife of Leicester City star continues to give evidence in High Court libel trial

Zoe Tidman,Holly Bancroft,Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 11 May 2022 16:46

Related video: Coleen Rooney arrives at High Court for the start of ‘Wagatha Christie’ dispute

Rebekah Vardy was in tears in the witness box as she was questioned about the online abuse that she and her family have received.

Coleen Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne referenced online rape threats against Ms Vardy’s daughter, which prompted the reality start to start crying and wipe away tears from her eyes.

She grabbed a number of tissues and started dabbing at her face but insisted she didn’t need to take a break from her cross-examination.

Vardy has told the court this morning that she directed her agent to look at Coleen Rooney’s private Instagram posts after she was involved in a car crash.

The wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is continuing to give evidence at the High Court in her libel trial against Ms Rooney, the wife of former England captain Wayne.

The court was told how in a January 2019 exchange, Ms Vardy’s agent, Caroline Watt, asked her: “Am I imagining this or did you say yesterday that Coleen had crashed her Honda?” the court heard.

“She defo has ... Go in the Instagram,” Ms Vardy replied, according to court documents.

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Vardy’s agent withdrew witness statement saying she did not leak stories

The court heard from Mr Tomlinson that Mrs Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt had recently withdrawn a witness statement from the trial in which she said she had not leaked stories.

Ms Watt also withdrew a waiver that might have allowed Sun journalists to say whether or not she was the source.

Mr Tomlinson said until these developments “Mrs Vardy believed that Ms Watt wasn’t the source of the leaks.

“She trusted her friend, that was Ms Watt’s own evidence.

“The result of all these developments is that Mrs Vardy doesn’t know what to think. She accepts that it’s possible that it may be that Ms Watt was the source of some or all of the stories.”

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 12:35
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Posts shared on Rooney’s private Instagram account were ‘low-level chit chat'

Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Rebekah Vardy, claimed Ms Rooney’s private Instagram account was not private in the way most people would expect and only contained “low-level” information.

He told the High Court: “To become a follower, you have to be accepted by Mrs Rooney but it’s not private in the sense most people would understand it because it had 300 followers including businesses.

“It’s a repository for relatively low-level chit chat and bits of information that go to people who are not in any way close or intimate friends of Mrs Rooney.”

“She had no idea who had access to those business accounts,” he added.

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 12:47
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‘No information’ in evidence to show Vardy even viewed Instagram posts, barrister argues

Mr Tomlinson continued addressing Mrs Justice Steyn by saying there is "no information" in any of the evidence that demonstrates Mrs Vardy even viewed Mrs Rooney's Instagram posts during the "sting operation".

He told the court: "Mrs Vardy does not actually know what happened, she doesn't know how this information got into the press, all she knows is what she did and she knows it wasn't her."

The barrister said Mrs Rooney's case is "entirely inferential" and that another line of her argument is to say Mrs Vardy has been "destroying evidence, she has deleted it and she has conspired to conceal all evidence of her wrongdoing".

He added: "This is untrue, there is no such campaign of deletion. The reason there is no such evidence against Mrs Vardy is because she didn't do it."

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 13:02
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Court rises

The court has risen for lunch. Proceedings will continue at about 2pm.

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 13:04
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Coleen Rooney in court ‘not because she wants to be but has to be'

The hearing has resumed with Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne telling the court his client is appearing in the courtroom “not because she she wants to, she’s here because she has to be”.

“She’s been brought here because of something she wrote,” he added.

“She didn’t want to have to write it any more than she wants to be here.”

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 14:33
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‘In essence this is a detective story'

David Sherborne, representing Ms Rooney, has argued Ms Vardy is responsible for the leaking of stories even if she didn’t “get her hands dirty”.

He told the trial: “In essence this is a detective story and like any good detective story you don’t find someone standing over the body with the smoking gun in hand.

“Ultimately, they all end up so the finger points to the right suspect. This is where I’m going to say what we mean by responsible.

“Our case is that responsibility in real terms in common sense terms doesn’t mean it’s Mrs Vardy who has to pull the trigger herself, if she gave the gun and the bullets told her who to target where it was happening that makes her just as responsible.

“It’s like hiring a hitman or hitwoman so you don’t get your hands dirty.”

The barrister claimed there was evidence of Ms Vardy contacting her agent to pass on some “juicy” information and when asked by Ms Watt why she doesn’t do it herself she allegedly replied: ‘I just don’t want it coming back on me’.”

“We say that this sort of arrangement, this method, this understanding between the two of them is repeated throughout the exchanges we’ve managed to obtain,” he said.

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 14:52
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Only ‘two real suspects’ over leaking of Coleen Rooney’s private information

David Sherborne claimed there were "only two real suspects" over the leaking of Coleen Rooney's private information, Rebekah Vardy and her agent Ms Watt.

He said there were some "hopeless, speculative theories" that a hacker was involved, but the barrister dismissed these as "wild speculation" with no evidence to support them.

Mr Sherborne added: "It comes back to the two suspects, Caroline Watt and Mrs Vardy herself. We say they were both in it together".

The barrister said it was "more likely than not that Mrs Vardy knew and approved Ms Watt passing in secret information about Mrs Rooney's private Instagram account to The Sun".

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 15:00
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Coleen Rooney ‘revelled in Wagatha Christie nickname’

In a skeleton argument submitted to the trial earlier in the hearing, lawyers for Vardy said Mrs Rooney’s post that she had discovered the source of the leak was a “serious attack on Mrs Vardy”.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Mrs Vardy, told the court: “We say this careful investigation was flawed from the start. Because it’s obvious for anybody who knows anything about the operation of social media and I’m sure Mrs Rooney does know something about it.

“The fact someone has an account doesn’t mean they are the only person who accessed it. Mrs Rooney was then dubbed ‘Wagatha Christie’. Something that she appears to have revelled in.

“She copied in her mobile phone, we recently discovered, the little photographs people had done making her up as Agatha Christie and so on.”

Natalie Crockett10 May 2022 15:05
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Trial will hear evidence from Coleen Rooney, husband Wayne, cousin and brother

David Sherborne told the court that the trial would hear evidence from Coleen Rooney as well as husband Wayne.

Rooney's cousin Claire Rooney and Mrs Rooney's brother will also provide evidence, he added.

Mr Sherborne explained that the witnesses would say that "Mrs Rooney doesn't have a proactive PR... unlike Mrs Vardy".

"And unlike Mrs Vardy again, she is not so keen to get lots of self-promotion or favourable coverage," he added. "That was the motive, why Mrs Vardy leaked information to The Sun."

Mr Sherborne said witnesses will also explain that Mrs Rooney "didn't tell any of them she was making this sting operation".

He said it was a "surprise" to them when her post accusing Mrs Vardy was made.

Mr Sherborne said the trial would also hear from two independent witnesses - Penny Adaarewa and Harpreet Robinson.

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 15:14
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‘Most improbable events’ included phone ‘falling into North Sea'

David Sherborne described what he called a series of "most improbable events" that had affected the disclosure of evidence in the case from Rebekah Vardy and those around her.

This included Caroline Watt's "poor unfortunate phone" falling into the North Sea "within days" of the court ordering that, even though she was not a party to proceedings, it should be searched for disclosure.

"What terrible luck," Mr Sherborne said.

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 15:19

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