#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 12°C Monday 16 May 2022

Rebekah Vardy wipes away tears after claims she threw her agent ‘under the bus’

Vardy is due to finish her evidence today, with Rooney due to begin hers tomorrow.

Rebekah Vardy leaves the Royal Courts of Justice.
Rebekah Vardy leaves the Royal Courts of Justice.
Image: PA

Updated Thu 7:45 PM

REBEKAH VARDY BECAME tearful several times in the witness box as she was accused of leaking stories and throwing her agent “under the bus” during her evidence at the UK High Court today.

As part of a high-profile libel claim against Coleen Rooney, Vardy wiped away tears on multiple occasions as she was cross-examined by Rooney’s barrister.

Today, Mrs Vardy left the witness box for the third day as she finished being questioned by David Sherborne in what has been dubbed the “Wagatha Christie” case.

In a viral social media post in October 2019, Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a “sting operation” and accused Mrs Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press.

Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.

Cross-examining Vardy, Sherborne, for Rooney, said: “Would you not agree, Mrs Vardy, that if it looks like a leak and smells like a leak and you even use the word leak, it is more likely than not to be a leak.”

He added: “So when Mrs Rooney wrote on the 9 October that she was right in suspecting you and your account… She was right, wasn’t she?”

“No, she was wrong,” Vardy replied.

The barrister referenced that Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt is not giving oral evidence after it emerged at a hearing in April that she was “not fit” to do so, also withdrawing her written statement.

Sherborne continued: “The journalists you wanted to call knew Caroline Watt was the source and that it came from you but you didn’t want to do the dirty work yourself…That’s why Ms Watt couldn’t face coming to court in the end to have been found to have lied.”

However, Mrs Vardy said: “I think she has been driven to suicidal thoughts by these proceedings and the antics of the defendant.”

Mr Sherborne concluded: “I have to put it to you that it’s not her that betrayed you, as you suggest, it’s you that betrayed her by throwing her under the bus.”

The former Dancing On Ice contestant appeared emotional as she said: “That is not true.”

Vardy also appeared emotional when questioned over whether she had seen a so-called “flooded basement” post – one of the Instagram stories Rooney claims were only seen by Vardy’s account during her “sting operation”.

wagatha-christie-trial Mrs Vardy wiped away tears as she gave evidence on Thursday (Elizabeth Cook/PA) Source: PA

Questioned about alleged inconsistencies in her evidence, Vardy replied “there was a lot of abuse during that time” before she started to cry in the witness box.

As the judge left the room after granting a short break, a tearful Vardy put her head in her hands on the desk.

Vardy had previously described the day of Rooney’s viral online post as “such a blur”, and became emotional yesterday when prompted about the abuse she and her family had received.

She will be questioned by her own barrister tomorrow before Rooney begins her evidence.

During the third day of the trial, the High Court also heard one of the articles in the case concerned Rooney’s car being damaged in early 2019, with a picture of the damaged Honda being posted on her private Instagram account.

A story was published in The Sun about Rooney’s car three days later, written by journalist Andy Halls.

Sherborne said: “You didn’t object at any stage to the fact that Ms Watt is plainly passing on information from Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account to Andy Halls.”

Vardy said The Sun already had the information, adding: “I didn’t think she was passing on any new information.”

Sherborne asked: “Take the word new out of it. Did you or did you not know that Ms Watt was passing on information from Mrs Rooney’s private account?”

Vardy replied: “She was talking to Mr Halls about information that was already being discussed.”

wagatha-christie-trial Courtroom sketch of Coleen Rooney's barrister David Sherborne questioning Rebekah Vardy as she gives evidence at the Royal Courts Of Justice. Source: Elizabeth Cook/PA

The court heard that Rooney later posted a public tweet saying it was “sad” someone who followed her was “betraying” her after the article appeared in The Sun.

While purportedly discussing this tweet in a private WhatsApp conversation, Watt told Vardy “It wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me”, in a message accompanied by a laughing face emoji.

The barrister put it to Vardy that was Watt admitting leaking the information to the journalist.

She replied: “That seems to be what she is saying, but I’m just looking at the times, at 18.47 I’m bathing the children, there is no response from me.”

Sherborne accused Vardy of trying to throw herself a “lifeline” and asked why, after bathing her children, she did not respond to Watt to challenge what she had said, if she did not know about and authorise the leak.

Vardy replied: “Without wanting to make fun of anyone, Gemma Collins face-planting on the ice was the next message, and that’s what I had on while I was bathing my children.”

2018 World Cup photo

Vardy earlier denied “orchestrating” a photo of footballers’ wives and girlfriends at the 2018 World Cup.

Vardy was asked a number of questions about a photo taken of a group of England players’ wives and girlfriends while at a St Petersburg restaurant during the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

Sherborne referred to a message exchange between Vardy and her agent, Caroline Watt, at the time, in which Watt said she had “got a photographer sorted for tomorrow” and Vardy replied “OK”.

However, Vardy said Watt had arranged for a photographer to take pictures of her as she left her hotel, but denied giving the photographer the location of either the hotel or a restaurant she went to the same evening with a group of the England team’s wives and girlfriends.

“I didn’t arrange the photograph outside of the restaurant,” she told the court.

wagatha-christie-trial Coleen and Wayne Rooney arrive at the Royal Courts Of Justice, London. Source: PA

She also said she was “happy” to be photographed leaving the hotel, but claimed that updates she sent to Watt when plans changed throughout the evening were not because she was working with the agent to arrange a “pap shot” of the group as they left the restaurant.

During a further exchange with Sherborne, Vardy again denied having orchestrated the photograph, adding: “If I had intentionally arranged the picture … I would quite happily admit that I had.”

She said that, by replying as she did to Watt, she was “just trying to get her off my back actually and enjoy my evening, it had been quite a crazy few days”.

But Sherborne later suggested: “You were perfectly happy for this staged photo to take place, perfectly happy for Caroline Watt to do the dirty as long as the dirt doesn’t come back on you.”

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

“Not true,” Vardy replied.

Sherborne also asked Vardy about an exchange with her agent Watt discussing an article about the wives and girlfriends of the England players at the 2018 tournament, which described them as having a “great time” and being in Russia to “back our boys”.

The barrister put it to Vardy that the Football Association (FA) were “worried” about the wives and girlfriends “drawing too much attention”, to which she said she could not comment on the FA’s position.

Referring to the article, she said: “If I’m honest, I can’t remember that at all.”

Sherborne replied: “Well, I would much rather you were honest, because you are in a witness box under oath.”

He then suggested that, far from not wanting attention, Vardy was “trying to create attention” and that is why she had “stage-managed the photograph of the girls”, which Vardy denied.

Rooney is defending the libel claim on the basis of truth and public interest.

The court previously heard that both women have spent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” on the case so far, with the total costs of the case expected to be at least £2 million.

The libel battle comes after Rooney publicly claimed an account behind three fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper was Vardy’s.

The fake stories Rooney planted on her Instagram during the sting operation featured her travelling to Mexico for a “gender selection” procedure, her planning to return to TV, and the basement flooding at her home.

In the post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, she wrote: “I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them.

“It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”

About the author:

Press Association

Read next: