Coleen Rooney hit back in the ‘Wagatha Christie’ row today as she said she was ‘keen’ to hear what Rebekah Vardy has to say in court after it was ruled her infamous Instagram post ‘clearly’ accused her of leaking ‘false stories’.
A High Court judge ruled Mrs Rooney’s post accusing Mrs Vardy of leaking stories about her private life to the media ‘clearly identified’ her as being ‘guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust that she alleges’.
Mrs Rooney accused Mrs Vardy of leaking ‘false stories’ about her to the press last October after carrying out a months-long ‘sting operation’. The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney claimed fellow footballer’s wife Mrs Vardy shared fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.
Mrs Rooney, 34, wrote on Instagram and Twitter: ‘I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.’
Mrs Vardy, 38, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the accusations and is suing Mrs Rooney for damages for libel at the High Court in London.
Today, Mrs Rooney’s spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Today’s ruling on the technical legal meaning of the post changes nothing. Coleen’s defence to this misguided action was filed last month. It sets out clearly the facts of her case, which remain the same irrespective of any decision on the meaning.
‘The key issues of the case remain the three stories from Coleen’s private Instagram account published by The Sun and Rebekah’s relationship with the newspaper, including its ‘Secret Wag’ column.
‘Coleen is pleased the judge has ordered that Rebekah must file her reply to the defence, on oath, by no later than December 8. After three years of stress and anxiety about the leaks from her private social media account, Coleen is keen to see progress made on the real issues, beginning with what Rebekah has to tell the court.’
Coleen Rooney (left, in Alderley Edge on Tuesday) and Rebekah Vardy (right, at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham for a Dancing On Ice 2021 training session today) are locked in a battle at London’s High Court
Rebekah Vardy (top) and Coleen Rooney watch England v Wales during Euro 2016 at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, France
In a judgment today, Mr Justice Warby ruled that the ‘natural and ordinary’ meaning of Mrs Rooney’s posts was that Mrs Vardy had ‘regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower of Ms Rooney’s personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun newspaper of Ms Rooney’s private posts and stories’.
Announcing his decision, the judge said that the meaning he had determined was ‘substantially the same as the claimant’s meaning’.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Warby said Mrs Rooney’s message was ‘a considered post, using wording composed with some care’, adding: ‘It would be clear to the ordinary reader from the outset that it was meant seriously, and intended to convey a message of some importance.’
He also rejected Mrs Rooney’s contention that she simply referred to Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account, rather than Mrs Vardy herself.
The judge ruled: ‘I certainly do not think that the ordinary reader would take that single word (account), albeit repeated, to indicate that Mrs Rooney remains in doubt about who the wrongdoer was.’
Rebekah Vardy is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, pictured together at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2017
Coleen Rooney is married to Derby County footballer Wayne Rooney, pictured while he was at Manchester United in 2016
He added: ‘There is nothing in these words, apart from the word ‘account’, that in any way suggests that the behaviour of which Mrs Rooney is complaining might have been carried out by anyone other than the account holder, Mrs Vardy.’
Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Mrs Vardy, told the court he would be seeking costs of £22,913.50 from Mrs Rooney at this point as it is usual that ‘the losing party pays the costs’.
David Sherborne, for Mrs Rooney, said the meaning argued by Mrs Vardy’s lawyers and the meaning ruled by Mr Justice Warby were different in some respects and ultimately does not affect how the case proceeds.
He added: ‘It is true in either meaning because Mrs Vardy was responsible for the source of those leaks whether herself or through her agent.’
Mr Justice Warby granted costs to Mrs Vardy at this stage, rather than waiting for the end of the trial.
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of (left to right) Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Rebekah Vardy, judge Mr Justice Warby and David Sherborne, representing Coleen Rooney, at the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London, on November 19
Mrs Rooney wrote on Instagram and Twitter: ‘I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.’
Yesterday, Mr Tomlinson QC said Mrs Rooney’s posts were an ‘untrue and unjustified defamatory attack’ which was ‘published and republished to millions of people’.
He added: ‘In fact, she did nothing wrong. Whatever leaks there were did not come from her.’
Mr Sherborne argued that it was ‘true’ that Mrs Vardy was ‘responsible for consistently passing on information about the defendant’s private Instagram posts and stories to The Sun’.
He said: ‘Mrs Rooney intends to defend these words as true in whatever meaning.’
The court also heard both Mrs Vardy and Mrs Rooney had agreed for a ‘stay’ of the proceedings until February, so there could be ‘one final attempt to resolve the matter without the need for a full trial’.