Rebekah Vardy accepts agent could be source of leaks, lawyer says

Footballer’s wife and agent occasionally ‘used the language of leaking’, barrister tells libel hearing

<p>Ms Vardy was accused of abusing her status as a trusted follower of Coleen Rooney’s private account </p>

Ms Vardy was accused of abusing her status as a trusted follower of Coleen Rooney’s private account

Rebekah Vardy accepts it is possible that her friend and former agent may have been the source of leaks at the centre of the High Court libel case she has brought against fellow footballer’s wife Colleen Rooney, her barrister has revealed.

Hugh Tomlinson QC said Ms Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt occasionally “used the language of leaking”.

In a social media post that quickly went viral in October 2019, Coleen Rooney said she had set up a “sting operation” to catch whoever was passing on stories about her to The Sun, and concluded the leaks came from “Rebekah Vardy’s account”.

The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney, who was dubbed “Wagatha Christie” for her detective work, publicly claimed Ms Vardy‘s account had passed on three fake stories she had posted on her private Instagram account.

Ms Vardy, 40, who is married to Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her accuser for libel, while Ms Rooney, 36, is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.

In closing arguments on the final day of the trial, Mr Tomlinson said Ms Vardy had suffered “very serious harm to her reputation” as a result of the accusation.

He said Ms Rooney had “failed to produce any evidence” that Ms Vardy had “regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower” of her private Instagram account by passing on information from it.

The barrister told the court: “Throughout this case, she [Ms Vardy] has sought to find out the position. The very first thing she said to Ms Rooney was, ‘Send me the evidence, send me the posts.’”

Mr Tomlinson added: “The position is clear, really. From time to time, Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt used the language of leaking.

“What actually is happening is that they are gossiping. They are talking about passing on pieces of gossip to the newspapers.”

The barrister said Ms Vardy did not know to this day where this information came from, but she accepted it was “possible” that Ms Watt was “the source” of the leaks.

“She doesn’t want to be in the position of accusing her friend and former long-term agent of doing something wrong,” he added.

Mr Tomlinson said in written closing arguments: “Mrs Rooney has, instead, advanced a remarkable ‘case theory’ based on Mrs Vardy being party to an extraordinarily elaborate, convoluted and cunning conspiracy to mislead the court.

“This apparently includes the deletion of images but the preservation of allegedly damning text, ensuring all her agent‘s messages were unavailable, a ‘double bluff’ of seeking to call witnesses who, if heard, would have destroyed her case and a pretended reluctance to blame her agent when this was, perhaps, her plan all along.”

Over six days, the footballers’ wives have each given evidence, as has Mr Rooney, also 36, who played for Everton and Manchester United and now manages Derby County.

Mrs Justice Steyn will reserve her ruling until a later date.

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