Rebekah Vardy ‘WON’T appeal High Court ruling which saw her lose £3million Wagatha Christie libel battle against Coleen Rooney’
- The WAG sued Mrs Rooney, 36, for libel after she accused Rebekah of leaking ‘false stories’ to the media
- It was previously reported that she may appeal against the ruling after she declared herself ‘devastated’
- The 40-year-old’s reputation is in tatters after she scored one of the worst own goals in British legal history
Rebekah Vardy will not appeal the High Court ruling which saw her lose the £3million Wagatha Christie libel battle against Coleen Rooney.
The WAG – who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, 35 – sued Coleen, 36, for libel after she accused Rebekah of leaking ‘false stories’ to the media, with a judge ruling against Rebekah at the High Court.
A source told The Sun: ‘It’s all over and Becky wants to move on. She is extremely frustrated with lawyers and the legal process so hell would freeze over before she wanted to go back into court.
‘At the moment she is enjoying being a mother, and a wife. She was pregnant with her youngest child when this whole thing blew up and she is two now.
‘So Becky is enjoying spending time with her and her other children — and does not want another legal fight to get in the way.’
It was previously reported that Rebekah may appeal against the bombshell Wagatha Christie ruling after she declared herself ‘devastated’ and branded the decision ‘unjust’ and ‘wrong’.
Sources close to Rebekah said that ‘nothing has been ruled out’ and that lawyers were still ‘combing over’ the 75-page judgment as they searched for possible grounds to take Coleen back to court.
Rebekah Vardy will not appeal the High Court ruling which saw her lose the £3million Wagatha Christie libel battle against Coleen Rooney
The WAG – who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy , 35 – sued Coleen , 36, for libel after she accused Rebekah of leaking ‘false stories’ to the media, with a judge ruling against Rebekah at the High Court
Mrs Vardy and her footballer husband have been left with a £3million legal bill after Mrs Justice Steyn ruled in favour of Mrs Rooney
The 40-year-old’s reputation is in tatters after she scored one of the worst own goals in British legal history when a High Court judge dismissed her evidence as ‘evasive or implausible’ and accused her of deliberately deleting WhatsApp messages central to the case. Her agent was also accused of intentionally dropping her phone in the North Sea.
Mrs Vardy and her footballer husband have been left with a £3million legal bill after Mrs Justice Steyn ruled in favour of Mrs Rooney in a judgment that said swathes of her evidence given under oath had been ‘manifestly inconsistent’, ‘not credible’ and needed to be treated with ‘very considerable caution’.
Rebekah said: ‘I am extremely sad and disappointed at the decision that the judge has reached. It is not the result that I had expected, nor believe was just. I brought this action to vindicate my reputation and am devastated by the judge’s finding.
‘The judge accepted that publication of Coleen’s post was not in the ‘public interest’ and she also rejected her claim that I was the ‘Secret Wag’. But as for the rest of her judgement, she got it wrong and this is something I cannot accept.’
She added: ‘The case is over. I want to thank everyone who has supported me.’
Vardy had sued over an accusation she had leaked details of her private life to the press. It came after Mrs Rooney had staged an elaborate sting operation to find out who was passing on stories about her private life to The Sun.
The judge, Justice Karen Steyn, said in her ruling that Coleen had successfully proved her allegation was substantially true.
Mrs Rooney laid into the £3million cost of the disastrous Wagatha Christie libel brought by Mrs Vardy who obdurately pursued the own goal High Court battle that has destroyed her reputation despite her rival trying to settle the case at least four times.
Rebekah Vardy’s reputation lies in tatters after she sensationally lost the ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel case with Coleen Rooney, who said the case was a waste of money and Vardy should never have taken it to court
Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy together in 2016. The WAGs have ended up in court in the libel trial of the year and Mrs Vardy’s reputation is in tatters after bringing the case and losing
Coleen said in a statement that she was ‘pleased’ the ruling went in her favour but that she ‘never believed’ the case should have gone to court ‘at such expense in times of hardship for so many people when the money could have been far better spent helping others’.
Mrs Rooney said: ‘It was not a case I ever sought or wanted. I never believed it should have gone to court at such expense in times of hardship for so many people when the money could have been far better spent helping others.
‘Both before and after my social media posts in October 2019, I made every effort to avoid the need for such a drawn out and public court case. All my attempts to do so were knocked back by Mrs (Rebekah) Vardy.
‘This left me with no alternative but to go through with the case to defend myself and to end the repeated leaking of my private information to The Sun.
‘These leaks from my private Instagram account began in 2017. They continued for almost two years, intruding on my privacy and that of my family. Although I bear Mrs Vardy no ill-will, today’s judgment makes clear that I was right in what I said in my posts of October 2019.
‘Finally, I would like to thank all of my legal team, my family, friends and everyone who supported me, including the public, through this difficult and stressful time.’
The wife of the Leicester City striker relentlessly pursued the case against her Wag rival Coleen for nearly three years after being accused of leaking private stories about Coleen and her family to The Sun newspaper.
The bombshell verdict from Court 13 of the High Court was handed down remotely online by Mrs Justice Steyn just over two months after the hearing in May. Vardy’s failed libel suit has been branded the most ill-advised in history.
Coleen Rooney out and about on the day of the final result of the Wagatha Christie trial in Cheshire
The post that accused Rebekah Vardy’s social media account of leaking stories. It sparked a £3million legal battle that Mrs Rooney won after the judge agreed it was ‘substantially true’ and therefore not libellous
Mrs Vardy had insisted on a full trial in the glare of the international media – and lost.
The High Court found that Mrs Rooney’s social media post accusing her rival was ‘substantially true’ and that Mrs Vardy ‘knew of, condoned and was actively engaged’ in leaks to the media by her ex-agent Caroline Watt.
And in a damning assessment of Mrs Vardy’s evidence, the judge said ‘significant parts were not credible’ and at times her ‘evidence was manifestly inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence, evasive or implausible’. By contrast, the judge found that Coleen and her witnesses, including husband Wayne, ‘gave honest, reliable evidence.’
Mrs Justice Steyn also ruled that loss of WhatsApp messages between Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt was ‘deliberate rather than accidental’ – dismissing her agent’s claim that a phone fell into the North Sea when a ship hit a big wave.
In her ruling, the judge said it was ‘likely’ that Mrs Vardy’s agent at the time, Caroline Watt, ‘undertook the direct act’ of passing the information to The Sun.
But she added: ‘Nonetheless, the evidence … clearly shows, in my view, that Mrs Vardy knew of and condoned this behaviour, actively engaging in it by directing Ms Watt to the private Instagram account, sending her screenshots of Mrs Rooney’s posts, drawing attention to items of potential interest to the press, and answering additional queries raised by the press via Ms Watt.
The judge added: ‘In my judgment, the conclusions that I have reached as to the extent to which the claimant engaged in disclosing to The Sun information to which she only had access as a permitted follower of an Instagram account which she knew, and Mrs Rooney repeatedly asserted, was private, suffice to show the single meaning is substantially true.’
For a week in May, the case captivated millions who were left open-mouthed by the evidence including explosive and expletive-filled Whatsapp messages sent by Ms Vardy as well as Coleen’s evidence about leaking false stories about her private life to find who was giving them to the tabloids and how her marriage almost fell apart after her husband Wayne was caught drink-driving with a party girl.
The most damning evidence from judge’s verdict on Rebekah Vardy: Wagatha Christie verdict in FULL from a phone hurled into the North Sea to ‘evasive’ evidence and World Cup WAGs photo set-up
ByMartin Robinson, Chief Reporterand Mark Duell for MailOnline
Rebekah Vardy has lost the ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel battle against Coleen Rooney over a viral social media post, after a High Court judge found it was ‘substantially true’.
In the October 2019 post, Mrs Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a months-long ‘sting operation’ and accused Mrs Vardy, 40, of leaking ‘false stories’ about her private life to the press.
The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney publicly claimed Mrs Vardy’s account was the source behind three stories in The Sun newspaper featuring fake details she had posted on her private Instagram stories.
Mrs Vardy – married to Leicester striker Jamie Vardy – denied leaking stories to the media and sued her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Mrs Rooney defended the claim on the basis her post was ‘substantially true’.
Both women attended a week-long trial at the High Court in London in May. And in a much-anticipated ruling released today, Mrs Justice Steyn found in Mrs Rooney’s favour and dismissed the claim against her.
Here, read the full ruling which was published on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website at noon, and the key areas of the case that were decided.
Coleen and Wayne Rooney leave the Royal Courts Of Justice in London during the ‘Wagatha Christie’ case on May 16
Rebekah and Jamie Vardy leave the Royal Courts Of Justice in London on May 17 during the ‘Wagatha Christie’ case
Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy together in 2016. The WAGs have ended up in court in the libel trial of the year and Mrs Vardy’s reputation is in tatters after bringing the case and losing
‘Significant’ parts of Rebekah Vardy’s evidence were ‘not credible’
Rebekah Vardy sketched in the High Court where she was accused of lying and giving ‘implausible’ evidence. She left court for an hour without explanation, returning with some Lucozade, her laptop and her lawyer
Mrs Justice Steyn has found that Rebekah Vardy’s evidence in the trial was ‘manifestly inconsistent’ with other evidence on ‘many occasions’.
In her judgment, she said: ‘It was evident that Mrs Vardy found the process of giving evidence stressful and, at times, distressing’.
The judge added: ‘Nevertheless, I find that it is, unfortunately, necessary to treat Mrs Vardy’s evidence with very considerable caution.
‘There were many occasions when her evidence was manifestly inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence, e.g. in relation to the World Cup 2018 and the photoshopped pictures, and others where she was evasive.’
Mrs Justice Steyn continued: ‘Mrs Vardy was generally unwilling to make factual concessions, however implausible her evidence. This inevitably affects my overall view of her credibility, although I have borne in mind that untruthful evidence may be given to mask guilt or to fortify innocence.’
The phone lost at the bottom of the North Sea: Vardy and assistant’s missing WhatsApp messages
Rebekah Vardy has said she was wrong to trust her friend and agent Caroline Watt (left), who has been too ill to attend the trial, accusing her of leaking stories about Coleen. The judgment has said they were both involved
Mrs Justice Steyn said ‘In my judgment, it is likely that Ms Vardy deliberately deleted her WhatsApp chat with Ms Watt, and that Ms Watt deliberately dropped her phone in the sea.’
Rebekah Vardy’s agent and friend said her phone fell into the North Sea while she was filming the Scottish coastline in August 2021.
Mrs Justice Steyn has said the likelihood that the loss of Caroline Watt’s phone was accidental was ‘slim’ and that it was ‘likely’ she deliberately dropped her phone into the sea.
In her judgment, the judge said that on August 4 2021, an order was made for Ms Watt’s phone to be inspected.
She said: ‘The timing is striking…the likelihood that the loss Ms Watt describes was accidental is slim.’
Agent’s ‘breakdown’ – because she knew evidence untrue
Mrs Justice Steyn said that Rebekah Vardy chose not to call her agent Caroline Watt to give evidence partly because she knew her evidence ‘would be shown to be untrue’.
Ms Watt had been due to give evidence in support of Mrs Vardy, however, she withdrew her evidence pre-trial, with the court told it was due to health concerns.
The judge said: ‘I accept that her health has been adversely affected by these proceedings. However, I am compelled to the conclusion that the primary reason Ms Watt was so very reluctant to give evidence, and has suffered adversely from the pressure to do so, was that she knew that to a large extent the evidence in her statements was untrue’.
On whether Vardy leaked to The Sun
As part of the ‘sting operation’ Coleen Rooney planted three false stories on her private Instagram account, with the viewers restricted to only Rebekah Vardy’s account, to see whether they would be leaked to The Sun newspaper. One of these stories was posted on April 8, 2019, with Coleen claiming she was travelling to Mexico to look into a procedure to determine a baby’s sex. ‘Let’s go and see what this gender selection is all about,’ Mrs Rooney posted, accompanied with a number of heart emojis
On January 22, 2019, Coleen Rooney posted a picture on her private Instagram, showing damage to her car after a collision. The next day Rebekah Vardy says in a WhatsApp message to Caroline Watt: ‘She’s a nasty b***h x’ and ‘I’ve taken a big dislike to her!… Would love to leak those stories x’. Rebekah claimed her comments were not about Coleen
The post that resulted in a newspaper article headlined ‘Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s £20million ‘Morrisons mansion’ flooded during Storm Lorenzo’. The court heard that the post, only visible to Rebekah’s Instagram account, showed a bottle of wine and was captioned: ‘Needed after today… flood in the basement of our new house… when it all seemed to be going so well’
The Court found that the Mrs Vardy, ‘together with Ms Watt’, ‘was party to the disclosure to The Sun’.
The judge said: ‘The Court considered it likely that Ms Watt undertook the direct act, in relation to each post, of passing the information to a journalist at The Sun, but found that the Claimant [Mrs Vardy] knew of, condoned and was actively engaged in this process’.
‘The evidence analysed clearly shows, in my view, that Ms Vardy knew of and condoned this behaviour, actively engaging in it by directing Ms Watt to… sending her screenshots of Ms Rooney’s posts, drawing attention to items of potential interest to the press, and answering additional queries raised by the press via Ms Watt’.
On Wayne Rooney’s 2016 World Cup warning to Jamie Vardy that Rebekah should calm down
England manager Roy Hodgson (left) talks to Jamie Vardy (second left) as Wayne Rooney (second right) watches on during a training session at Stade de Bourgognes in Chantilly during the Euro 2016 tournament in France
Former England teammates Wayne and Jamie were once described as ‘close friends on and off the field’ by former England manager Roy Hodson but all that was kicked into touch as the high-profile trial unfolded.
As the former England captain took to the witness box, Jamie stared dispassionately as Wayne sounded the last rites for any camaraderie the two once shared on the football pitch.
Wayne told the court that during the Euro 2016 tournament he spoke with Jamie following instructions from then manager Hodgson and assistant manager Gary Neville to ask him to ask his wife to ‘calm down’ over her ‘media antics’ which were causing ‘problems and distractions’ for the team in France.
His evidence ignited a war of words between the former teammates with a representative of Jamie reading a statement outside the court which declared: ‘Wayne is talking nonsense. He must be confused because he never spoke to me about issues concerning Becky’s media work at Euro 2016. There was nothing to speak about, I know this because I discuss everything with Becky.’
But in another blow to the Vardys, the judge said: ‘I accept Mr Rooney’s evidence that he was asked by the England Manager, Roy Hodgson, and the Assistant Manager, Gary Neville to speak to Mr Vardy about the fact that Ms Vardy’s media activities were causing problems and distractions that the Football Association wished to avoid’.
Warnings at 2016 World Cup and Vardy’s seat-grab
Rebekah Vardy denied that photos of her and Coleen Rooney together at an international football match (pictured) were a ‘set up’ following information from a photography agency
Former Football Association family liaison officer Harpreet Robertson told how over two guests of Mrs Vardy became rude and abusive’ to her during the match.
Mrs Robertson claimed Rebekah’s evidence about why she sat behind Mrs Rooney at the England versus Wales game – that Mrs Rooney and family were in her seats and she took the nearest available to avoid a ‘fuss’ – was ‘simply untrue’.
The judge said she found Ms Robertson’s evidence ‘clear, consistent…and reliable’.
The judgment said: ‘It is highly likely that Ms Vardy ended up sitting directly behind Ms Rooney, in circumstances where that was not her allocated seat, due to a deliberate choice to put herself in the same shot.
‘It is probable that this is what she was advised to do by her PR agency. This would be consistent with her subsequent behaviour during the World Cup 2018, and Ms Watt’s involvement in seeking to ensure that they were able to obtain staged paparazzi photographs. In my judgment, Ms Vardy’s evidence on this matter was not credible. I do not accept she would have happily blurred into the background.’
‘What a c***’: Vardy’s outrage at being unfollowed on Instagram by Coleen
Rebekah Vardy messaged her agent ‘OMG what a c***’ when Coleen Rooney unfollowed her on Instagram after ‘fake’ story about car crash was published, libel trial told
Rebekah Vardy has been quizzed once again at the Wagatha Christie libel trial about a WhatsApp exchange which saw her brand Coleen Rooney a ‘c***’ after she unfollowed her on Instagram.
‘OMG what a c***,’ Rebekah texted her agent Caroline Watt after realising what had happened, according to texts read out to the High Court earlier in the trial.
The judge said: ‘I accept that her expression of indignation was genuine. But it was misplaced indignation’. Amid claims it happened because of leaks to The Sun, the judge said: ‘She [Rebekah] thought (rightly) that Ms Rooney could not know that and was offended that Ms Rooney had guessed she was responsible.
‘Leak the Maldives stuff’: Vardy and Danielle Lloyd’s relationship
Rebekah’s dispute with Danielle Lloyd (pictured) led to ‘legal correspondence’ between the pair the court heard
Rebekah fell out with another high-profile WAG which led to a legal dispute, the High Court heard.
The court heard Vardy had a ‘spat on Instagram’ with Danielle Lloyd, the former wife of ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie O’Hara.
A dispute led to ‘legal correspondence’ between the pair the court heard.
Coleen’s barrister claimed messages between Rebekah and her agent showed she was trying to leak information about a pregnant woman who went on honeymoon to the Maldives but went on to suffer a miscarriage.
The judge said: ‘Ms Vardy’s evidence regarding this exchange was implausible. The natural reading of her message is that she was instructing Ms Watt to give the press “the Maldives stuff”.
‘The phrase “she’s gone and done it now” indicates that Ms Vardy was annoyed with Ms Lloyd. It was for that reason that she gave the instruction to “leak the Maldives stuff” which, it may be surmised, was information about Ms Lloyd which she would not have wanted to be provided to the press’.
‘Omg wtf is wrong with people’: Vardy’s message to Coleen about second leak
The court then heard that Rebekah allegedly tried to throw Coleen ‘off the scent’ with ‘disingenuous messages’ to her suggesting her account might have been hacked by journalists.
On November 1 2017 Rebekah told Coleen in a private message: ‘Oh my God. What the f*** is wrong with people. Why have they taken that one of you and the kids and not of Wayne in bed? That would have been an even better one in their eyes. D***heads. Hope you are OK.’
David Sherborne suggested Rebekah sent the message as she ‘knew the finger of suspicion’ was going to be pointed at her.
The judge said: ‘The clear impression given by Ms Vardy’s messages to Ms Rooney, when considered in light of the evidence as a whole, is that they were disingenuous and probably written with the assistance of Ms Watt, with a view to allaying any suspicion that Ms Rooney might have. It is evident that Ms Vardy did not consider that it was “so bad!” to tell the press about posts such as the Pyjamas Post, which she probably considered to be harmless. Nor did she consider it worse to leak to “the sun of all people”, a newspaper for which she had written a column, given interviews, and to which (as I have found) she and her agent gave other people’s private information’.
‘Someone is selling you out’: Vardy’s exchanges with Coleen
The court heard one occasion when Rebekah went ‘fishing for information’ happened hours after her husband allegedly ‘spent time’ with the barmaid in Florida. Coleen told how Rebekah got in contact after The Sun told how she was threatening to quit the US and return to Britain after Rooney’s encounter with Vicki Rosiek when he was playing for DC United in Washington.
Making contact with Coleen at lunchtime on February 11 2019, the day after the article appeared, Rebekah wrote: ‘Hi my love! Hope you are ok! Just saw another s***ty story online! Can they not just leave you guys alone…I don’t know how you do it! It’s relentless…stay strong. Sending hugs.
Coleen replied: ‘Thanks, just a pain in a**e…it’s the kids half term so just gonna come home.’ Messaging Coleen back, Rebekah wrote: ‘It’s a joke! Annoys me someone close to you is clearly selling you out! And for what…I don’t blame you come home and be with your family’.
The judge said today: ‘Ms Vardy’s messages were clearly sent to deflect suspicion from herself’.
Vardy losing her laptop
The court heard that when Mrs Rooney’s lawyers requested the laptop used to export messages, they were first told it was broken, and when they suggested it be forensically examined, were told it had been disposed of, despite Mrs Vardy having been warned about the importance of preserving possible evidence.
Mr Sherborne said: ‘Right from the outset your solicitors made clear the importance of preserving documents.
‘We’re told this, this is in February 2022, the WhatsApp export was carried out on an old laptop of the claimant’s which stopped working.’
Reading a letter from Mrs Vardy’s solicitor following the suggestion of examination, he said: ‘With regards to our client’s laptop, this is no longer in her possession. She had disposed of it because it had been damaged beyond repair. It is therefore not possible to inspect this laptop.’
The judge said today: The defendant was first informed of the disposal of the laptop on March 10 2022. Ms Vardy said she could not recall when she disposed of it, although she accepted that it was after she had been told to preserve everything. She did not explain why she had disposed of it’.
Setting up WAGs photo at 2018 World Cup
Pictured left to right: Millie Savage, Gemma Acton, Megan Davison, Becky Vardy, Annabel Peyton, Fern Hawkins, Shannon Horlock, Annie Kilner and Lucia Loi
Rebekah Vardy was dramatically accused of lying after she blamed heavy drinking for failing to remember the details of a 2018 World Cup paparazzi photo she allegedly helped to set up – as the Wagatha Christie libel trial entered its third day.
She denied the allegation this morning. But when asked for details by barrister David Sherborne – acting for her rival Coleen Rooney – she said: ‘If I’m completely honest I had been drinking quite a bit.’
The judge said today: ‘The claimant originally pleaded that she “had nothing to do with the photograph which was published in The Sun on 26 June 2018”. The reply was later amended to admit that the claimant “arranged for a photographer to be present when she was leaving for the restaurant’.
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