Coleen Rooney refused permission to bring High Court claim against Rebekah Vardy's agent
The Wagatha Christie case continues
Coleen Rooney on Monday lost a High Cout bid to bring a claim against Rebekah Vardy's agent as part of an ongoing legal battle between the footballers' wives dubbed 'Wagatha Christie'.
Vardy sued Rooney for libel after she publicly accused her of leaking stories about her private life to The Sun.
The 35-year-old wife of former England star Wayne Rooney carried out a months-long "sting operation" in which she posted fake stories on her personal Instagram page in a bid to catch out the culprit.
She later accused Vardy, the wife of Leicester City striker Jamie, of being the culprit.
The 39-year-old denies the allegations.
Rooney's lawyers previously claimed that Vardy had leaked information to The Sun either directly or through her agent Caroline Watt and pursued her for misuse of private information.
Rooney last week asked for this to be attached to the libel claim, but the High Court has rejected the bid, Sky News reports.
When did the saga begin?
The spat began almost two-and-a-half years ago in October 2019.
Rooney claimed Vardy was leaking her private messages to the press to generate stories. She claimed in 2019 she had evidence to prove Vardy's guilt. After doing some investigating and posting a long explanation online, Rooney's wife was jokingly nicknamed 'Wagatha Christie'.
Rooney's lawyers claim Vardy gave her assistant permission to leak stories from Rooney's private Instagram account and in new revelations earlier this month, messages appear to reveal Vardy admitting she would "love to" leak messages from Rooney.
But after "regrettably" dropping her phone containing the evidence in the sea, Vardy's agent claimed to be unable to provide further proof of these telling messages in court.
Back up a minute, remind me what got us to this point?
In October 2019, after spending months researching, Rooney posted on social media revealing she believed Vardy had been leaking stories to The Sun.
Vardy denied the accusation and is suing Rooney for libel, a strand of the law of defamation.
In October 2019 Rooney explained in a post: "I blocked everyone from viewing my Instagram stories except ONE account... Over the past five months I have posted a series of false stories to see if they made their way into The Sun newspaper. And, you know what, they did!”
“I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them,” she continued, adding: “It’s……… Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Vardy has always argued she doesn't need the money nor the attention so why would she be the culprit? In a denial posted shortly after on social media, Vardy said: “I never speak to anyone about you... I liked you a lot Coleen & I’m so upset that you have chosen to do this, especially when I’m heavily pregnant.”
In the months following everyone from Stanley Johnson to Netflix commented on the Wagatha Christie saga, as thousands of tweeters called on Rooney to help the government solve crimes with her incredible sleuthing skills.
In case you aren't aware, 'Wagatha Christie' references the famous Whodunnit? author Agatha Christie, who wrote tens of murder mystery stories including Murder On The Orient Express and the Poirot stories.
In June 2020 Vardy took her case to court, claiming she and her family were receiving such high levels of abuse following the saga that they were unable to attend Leicester games featuring Vardy's husband, Leicester City player Jamie Vardy.
This has been a burden in my life for a few years now and finally I have got to the bottom of it...... pic.twitter.com/0YqJAoXuK1
— Coleen Rooney (@ColeenRoo) October 9, 2019
Rooney's team issued a statement that it was "disappointing" Vardy had decided to take the case to court, but argued that "it does at least mean" Rooney's evidence could be aired in a legal setting.
In November 2020 Vardy was believed to have taken a step ahead in the proceedings.
The court found a "normal reader" on social media would believe Rooney was saying Vardy had personally leaked the stories, effectively giving legal wiggle room to Vardy's team because it would mean Rooney would have to argue it was specifically Vardy leaking the stories. In reality, it could have been her assistant Caroline Watt or other individuals.
The case returned to the High Court in July 2021 with Rooney forwarding more arguments against Vardy, but Rooney's claims, including that Vardy had a close relationship with The Sun, were thrown out.
However, the court did acknowledge that Vardy's alleged closeness with the newspaper was "a building block" for Rooney's case. "It can, at least, be said to be less likely that a person with no such relationship would regularly disclose private information about others to that newspaper or those journalists and, perhaps, less likely that the disclosure would, on its own, result in a published article,” said judge Justice Steyn.
The most recent development this month saw WhatsApp messages presented in court in which Vardy allegedly called Rooney a "nasty b****" and "a c***" to her agent Caroline Watt. Vardy allegedly said she's "love to leak those stories" to the press. The messages also show that Vardy declared "war" on Rooney.
— Rebekah Vardy (@RebekahVardy) October 9, 2019
The court asked to see the phone for further examination but Vardy's team revealed Watt's phone was lost in the ocean. Rooney's barrister replied that the situation was "most unfortunate, because it was only a short time after the court ordered that the phone should be specifically searched."
Rooney's barrister argued: “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.”
"She had the means to leak the stories because she had access to Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account and encouraged Ms Watt to... Mrs Vardy knew perfectly well what she [Watt] was doing and was behind it and encouraging it."
Vardy has denied that the WhatsApp messages were about Rooney.
The case is going to a full trial in May this year.
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