Rebekah Vardy ‘habitual’ leaker of Coleen Rooney stories to Sun, court hears

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<span>Photograph: PA</span>
Photograph: PA

Rooney’s lawyers allege Vardy authorised agent Caroline Watt to access Rooney’s private Instagram account


Rebekah Vardy has been accused of being a “habitual” leaker of private information about Coleen Rooney to the Sun newspaper, at the latest hearing in the “Wagatha Christie” case.

Lawyers for Rooney alleged at the high court on Wednesday that Vardy received money from the tabloid and was regularly providing information to the newspaper’s journalists – including material from Rooney’s private Instagram account.

They claim that Vardy authorised her agent Caroline Watt to access her personal Instagram account, which was then used to monitor Rooney’s posts and pass information to the Sun.

On Tuesday the court heard Vardy sent WhatsApp messages saying she “would love” to leak messages about Rooney to the media and apparently described her as a “nasty bitch”.

Vardy’s lawyers say this message is not evidence she actually leaked any stories and “nasty bitch” was referring to someone else. They also stood by a claim that Watt’s mobile phone was accidentally dropped off the side of a boat into the North Sea, shortly after a legal request was made to search the device for potential evidence.

Hugh Tomlinson QC said: “That is what happened. Mrs Vardy was not present when that happened. She [the agent] was on holiday, she lost her phone.”

Related: Rebekah Vardy said she would ‘love’ to leak stories about Coleen Rooney to media

In 2019 Coleen Rooney – the wife of the Derby County manager, Wayne Rooney – accused Vardy of leaking stories from her private Instagram account to the Sun after a months-long sting operation. Rebekah Vardy, who is married to the Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy, denied the accusation and is suing Rooney for libel. The case is due to go to a full trial in May but a two-day hearing this week has considered which evidence should be taken into account.

The libel case could hinge on who, if anyone, with access to Vardy’s Instagram account was providing stories to the Sun. Rooney’s lawyers are attempting to bring Watt into the case, arguing she played a role and alleging she misused Rooney’s private information.

They told the court that if Vardy wins her claim on the basis that she was not the specific individual who leaked the information, then Rooney will be left without “vindication” unless she is able to bring the claim against Watt as part of the same case.

The court previously heard Vardy had messaged Watt to say she was “offended” that Rooney had publicly named her as the individual leaking information to the Sun.

Tomlinson, acting for Vardy, said: “If one reads these messages in full, what one sees is that Mrs Vardy expresses shock at being accused … These are obviously candid personal messages, and if she was really concerned – ‘Oh, this is terrible, we have been found out’ – then it would have been completely different.”

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