Libel battle | 

Coleen Rooney's Irish bodyguard predicts 'she'll win her case' against Rebekah Vardy

'Wagatha Christie' trial: Legal costs could reach £2m

Wayne and Coleen Rooney

Eugene Masterson

Coleen Rooney's Irish bodyguard Anto Hyland predicts: "She'll win her case".

Celebrity minder Anto was chosen by Coleen's management to be her main close-protection escort during a high- profile trip to Dublin in 2005.

The respected bodyguard is pictured here escorting Coleen arm in arm down the capital's Grafton Street while she was being bombarded with fans and paparazzi.

"She was very easy-going and pleasant," Anto tells the Sunday World. "She actually loved the attention. She was always smiling and said she liked shopping on her own."

Bodyguard Anto Hyland with Coleen Rooney on a visit to Dublin

Anto is one of the most trusted close- protection security personnel in showbusiness and it's rare for someone in that profession to talk about one of their clients.

But the friendly Dubliner has no doubt who will win between Coleen and Rebekah Vardy in the much-publicised 'Wagatha Christie' case.

"From what I have seen and heard I think Coleen will win her action," maintains Anto.

Both Coleen and her husband say they have Irish heritage. They have visited Ireland several times since.

Mum-of-four Coleen visited Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo in 2019 with her family, which was her second visit to the famous mountain near Westport.

Last June, Coleen and Wayne were spotted having lunch at the Dirty Duck restaurant in Holywood, Co. Down, where owner David Stoop said "they are just like normal people".

Vardy's libel action against Rooney ended this week. Her case is that she has suffered "very serious harm to her reputation" as a result of Rooney's 2019 post, which alleged Vardy's Instagram account was responsible for leaking information about her to The Sun newspaper and she is seeking "substantial damages", or compensation.

Rooney is defending the claim on the basis it was true and in the public interest for her to publish it.

In this case, Rooney relies on a defence of truth - that what she posted when she identified Vardy as the alleged leaker was "substantially true".

She also contends that she reasonably believed it was in the public interest to expose Vardy as the alleged leaker.

As this is a civil case, the standard of proof is "on the balance of probabilities", or "more likely than not".

There is an upper limit of damages in libel actions of about £300,000 (€356,000), so that would be the maximum amount Vardy could receive.

Rebekah Vardy and her husband Jamie

The amount of damages awarded is likely to depend on a number of factors, including the level of harm caused to a person's reputation and how many people read the published libel, but is usually dwarfed by legal costs.

Matthew Dando, partner at law firm Wiggin LLP, said: "Libel damages are virtually never as high as the costs of the process.

"If Mrs Vardy does win damages they will be a fraction of her total legal spend which will almost certainly exceed £1 million."

At a hearing in March last year, it was revealed Vardy had a costs budget for the case of nearly £900,000, while Rooney's costs were estimated to be about £400,000.

However, it is believed the case has now exceeded those budgets and the legal costs - including for the trial over seven days - and will be at least £2 million.

Today's Headlines

More Courts

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos