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Vardy agent admitted leaking stories about Rooney in messages, High Court hears

Rebekah Vardy also told her agent she ‘would love to leak those stories’ about Coleen Rooney in messages heard on Tuesday.

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Rebekah Vardy (PA)

Rebekah Vardy (PA)

Rebekah Vardy (PA)

Rebekah Vardy’s agent admitted leaking information to the press about Coleen Rooney in a series of explosive messages revealed during the latest stage of a legal battle between the footballers’ wives, the High Court heard.

In another exchange between Mrs Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt, Mrs Vardy, 39, said she would “love to leak” stories from Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account to the press, the court was told.

In an October 2019 Twitter post, Mrs Rooney, 35, accused Mrs Vardy of leaking stories about her private life after carrying out a months-long “sting operation”.

The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney, dubbed “Wagatha Christie”, claimed Mrs Vardy had shared fake stories she posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.

Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie, denies the accusations and is suing Mrs Rooney for libel.

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Coleen Rooney (bottom) and Rebekah Vardy (top) (John Walton/PA)

Coleen Rooney (bottom) and Rebekah Vardy (top) (John Walton/PA)

Coleen Rooney (bottom) and Rebekah Vardy (top) (John Walton/PA)

At the start of a two-day preliminary hearing in London on Tuesday, the High Court heard WhatsApp messages between Mrs Vardy and her PR and friend Caroline Watt had been disclosed to Mrs Rooney’s legal team.

Mrs Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne said a “number of abusive messages” were exchanged between Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt about Mrs Rooney.

He told the court that, days after a story about her car was published in The Sun, Mrs Rooney posted a tweet saying it was “sad” someone who followed her was “betraying” her.

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

Mr Sherborne said: “What we say is that the inference to be drawn from that is that Mrs Vardy knew perfectly well what she was doing, and was behind it and was encouraging it.”

In other messages, Mrs Vardy referred to Mrs Rooney as a “nasty bitch” and “such a dick”.

Mr Sherborne said Mrs Vardy and her “sidekick” Ms Watt were routinely looking at Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram stories with a view to having them published.

He added: “Mrs Vardy encouraged her (Ms Watt) to do this, she knew it was happening.

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“The lack of criticism, let alone surprise, shows it was agreed between Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt.”

Another of the messages showed that on the day of Mrs Rooney’s Twitter post which ended “It’s………. Rebekah Vardy’s account”, Mrs Vardy sent a message to Ms Watt, stating: “That’s war.”

A further exchange, after Mrs Rooney was found to have unfollowed Mrs Vardy, Mrs Vardy told Ms Watt: “Omg… what a c***, I’m going to message her”.

The court heard Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt had discussed a post on Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram where her car had been damaged in January 2019, where Mrs Vardy told Ms Watt she “would love to leak those stories x”.

Mr Sherborne said Ms Watt was later responsible for the leak of the story to the newspaper, with Mrs Vardy’s approval.

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Coleen Rooney has claimed Rebekah Vardy leaked stories to the press (Peter Byrne/PA)

Coleen Rooney has claimed Rebekah Vardy leaked stories to the press (Peter Byrne/PA)

Coleen Rooney has claimed Rebekah Vardy leaked stories to the press (Peter Byrne/PA)

During Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Sherborne said Mrs Rooney has brought a claim against Ms Watt for misuse of private information and is asking for it to be joined to the libel claim.

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

Both Mr Sherborne and Mrs Vardy’s lawyers are also applying for further information to be disclosed during the in-person hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Mr Sherborne said Mrs Rooney’s lawyers wanted further information from the WhatsApp messages between Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt, but said Ms Watt’s phone had “regrettably” fallen into the North Sea after a boat she was on hit a wave shortly after the last hearing.

“(It was) most unfortunate, because it was only a short time after the court ordered that the phone should be specifically searched,” he said.

Mr Sherborne said in written arguments that a plan was “hatched” between Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt over the leaks, which the barrister described as a “classic smoking gun”.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Mrs Vardy, said the denied allegations have caused her “huge damage and distress”.

In written arguments, the barrister said the information and messages disclosed “provides no evidence that the claimant leaked the three fake posts”.

He added that Mrs Rooney “relies upon selective and incomplete WhatsApp exchanges… conveniently ignoring the messages which demonstrate beyond doubt that the claimant was not responsible for leaking the defendant’s private information to The Sun.”

In further WhatsApp messages between her and Ms Watt, Mrs Vardy said she had supported Mrs Rooney and suggested it was Mrs Rooney’s own PR who had leaked stories.

“What a joke! All I’ve ever been is nice to her though! Even when Wayne was being a c*** x,” Mrs Vardy wrote.

She later added: “Bet it’s their PR again has to be x… I really can’t see anyone being that arsed with selling stories on her.”

Ian Helme, for Ms Watt, said she has given “clear and consistent” denials against the claim for misuse of private information.

In written arguments, he said it was not only Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account that had viewed the post about Mrs Rooney’s car, adding that the incident also took place in public.

He also said it can be inferred that Mrs Rooney’s primary concern is “public opinion, or vindication”.

He added: “It appears quite clear that the defendant has determined that publicity generated by success in defending the claim against her will far exceed the value of any remedy she could attain as a claimant.”

The trial is due to begin in early May of this year but is likely to be delayed. The hearing before Mrs Justice Steyn is due to finish on Wednesday.

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