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Vardy admits telling agent to leak footballer's sex secret in Wagatha Christie trial
11 May 2022, 11:38 | Updated: 11 May 2022, 16:24
Rebekah Vardy has admitted discussing leaking a story about a female celebrity cheating on her husband with a footballer, the High Court has heard.
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Coleen Rooney's barrister David Sherborne questioned Mrs Vardy about what she said over text in reference to a "well-known" female celebrity, known only as Mrs F, her estranged husband Mr H, and "well-known footballer" Mr G.
Mrs Vardy told her agent Caroline Watt that she should "leak the story about her shagging G behind H's back"," Mr Sherborne said.
Mrs Vardy said she was "a bit shocked and a bit disgusted about what I'd seen in the paper" and said she was "just joking" about leaking the story.
Mr Sherborne asked whether she was so annoyed that she had instructed Ms Watt to leak a story about Mrs F allegedly cheating.
"That's the way it reads," she replied, adding: "Again, in context, bits of information mixed in with other bits of information. I was actually just joking about that one."
What's happened so far?
Here are the key developments from day two of the trial.
- Coleen Rooney's barrister David Sherborne has been questioning Rebekah Vardy about her text conversations with her agent, Caroline Watt, about other celebrities
- Mr Sherbourne said it was "standard practice" for Mrs Vardy to tell Ms Watt information to pass onto journalists
- The stories Mrs Vardy is accused of discussing include Danielle Lloyd's miscarriage, a story about a celebrity – known only as Mrs F – cheating on her husband with a footballer, and a story about footballer Danny Drinkwater's drink-driving arrest – the latter of which she said in a message she wanted to be paid for
- Mrs Vardy has denied all the allegations, saying she was "just joking" and "gossiping" – but she conceded some of the "messages were not good"
- It was also revealed that Mrs Vardy had got her publicist to look at Coleen Rooney's personal Instagram through her own private account
- Later on, Mrs Vardy began to cry in the witness box as she was questioned about some of the abuse she and her family have received
Mrs Rooney and Mrs Vardy arrived at London's High Court for the second day of the trial just before 10:30am on Wednesday.
Mrs Vardy has so far been questioned by Mr Sherborne about her previous communications with Ms Watt relating to other celebrities - including another footballer, known as Mr X, allegedly being unfaithful to his partner.
The story was allegedly leaked to The Sun - something that Mrs Vardy has denied is standard practice.
The High Court was also told by Mr Sherborne that Mrs Vardy told her agent she "wanted paying" for information about footballer Danny Drinkwater leaving police custody after crashing his car.
Reading texts between her and her agent, Mr Sherborne said: "You say 'he's only just been let out of the cells last night' and then said you wanted paying for this.
"To which she said 'which police station? They will need to confirm with the police station before they write it'.
"The 'they' she's referring to is The Sun, isn't it?"
Mrs Vardy confirmed "they" referred to The Sun, but, explaining the comment about being paid for information, she said: "It was a fleeting thought and one I didn't consider any more then when I wrote it."
"It wasn't a serious comment," she added, and said the message exchange was "something that wrongly I got involved with".
She said she apologised and that the "messages were not good", adding it was about something that "affected me very badly in the past".
The court was told that Ms Watt informed Mrs Vardy that someone had already leaked information from a police station, to which Mrs Vardy responded "F**k someone already tipped it" and also messaged: "I'm fuming I didn't give it to you earlier."
Mr Sherborne suggested Mrs Vardy was angry about "the fact that you're not going to get your money".
"No, that's not true," she replied.
"When I said I want paying for this, it's a fleeting comment and something I probably considered at the time, but that was it."
Mr Sherborne asked Mrs Vardy why she was "fuming" about not giving information to Ms Watt earlier.
"I don't know," she replied.
Mrs Vardy then denied she was lying about whether or not her messages to her agent were serious, and denied she was "prepared to lie under oath".
Arriving at the High Court on Wednesday, Coleen Rooney was again joined by her husband, former England footballer Wayne Rooney.
She was wearing a white and black patterned outfit with her left foot still in a brace.
Mother-of-five Rebekah Vardy arrived dressed all in black, wearing sunglasses, a jacket, long skirt and high heels.
Once the trial resumed on Wednesday the court also heard Mrs Vardy labelled Mrs Rooney a "c***" after she was unfollowed by her on Instagram, after being told by Ms Watt.
In another message shown to the court, Mrs Vardy told Ms Watt one of her husband's teammates Riyad Mahrez had not come to training, and said the "lads are fuming".
She told the court she did not know if this was true, and said she was just "gossiping" - but Mrs Watt asked if she should pass it on to a Sky Sports reporter, something Mrs Vardy said did not happen.
She acknowledged the message exchange "doesn't read very well" but denied her agent had passed on any information about Mr Mahrez to the press.
Messages relating to model Danielle Lloyd's miscarriage were also shown to the court.
The court also heard that Mrs Vardy directed Ms Watt to Mrs Rooney's Instagram account when discussing the fact she had crashed her car - but Mrs Vardy denied knowing whether or not Ms Watt was actively monitoring the account.
Ms Watt also said Mrs Rooney was an "attention seeker" in a Whatsapp message to Mrs Vardy after viewing her posts through Mrs Vardy's account, the High Court heard.
Reading the message, Mr Sherborne said: "How much of an attention seeker is Coleen. No press of her post about gender selection so now she starts posting that she's in Mexico in the hopes someone notices."
When the barrister suggested it was "clear" from the message that Ms Watt was in Mrs Vardy's account, Mrs Vardy said: "That's correct, yes."
Later on, Mrs Vardy began to cry in the witness box as she was questioned about some of the abuse she and her family have received.
"I'm not going to take you through the trolling," Mr Sherborne said, adding "we can all agree" a particular threat to rape her daughter was "horrible".
Asked again a few moments later if she would like a break, Mrs Vardy replied: "I don't think it's going to make any difference, to be honest."
Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie, is suing Mrs Rooney for libel after being accused of feeding stories to the press.
Mrs Rooney accused Mrs Vardy of leaking the stories - which were fake and posted to her personal Instagram account - to The Sun newspaper.
Mrs Vardy denies the accusations, and is suing Mrs Rooney for the 'serious damage' to her reputation cause by the claims.
The trial, which started yesterday, has already seen Mrs Vardy questioned by Mr Sherborne about an interview she gave to the News Of The World about Mrs Vardy's claimed sexual encounter with singer Peter Andre.
Mr Sherborne showed what appeared to an A3 print out of the article to Mrs Vardy in the witness box before reading the headline: "Peter's hung like a small chipolata, shaved, slobbery, lasts five minutes".
Rebekah Vardy was asked whether it was "respectful" of Peter Andre's "right not to share this information" about their sexual encounter with a newspaper.
She replied: "I was forced into a situation by my ex-husband to do this.
"It is something that I deeply regret... It is not nice to read and I understand why this is being used and to me this is mudslinging and I was also threatened with mudslinging by Mrs Rooney's team."
Mrs Vardy was also quizzed about her choice of seating at a 2016 Euros match.
There were claims she deliberately sat behind Mrs Rooney, even though they were not her seats, in order to bolster her public image.
She dismissed the claims as "ridiculous".
Introducing the case yesterday, Mrs Vardy's barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC said it was an opportunity for his client to "vindicate" her reputation and said she "had no choice" but to bring the libel claim.
He said the main defence would be truth because Mrs Rooney "does not even set out to prove the things she [has] said are true [that Vardy is behind the leaks]."
Mr Tomlinson added that although Mrs Rooney's Instagram account was private, it had 300 followers which included businesses, meaning she could not have marshalled who was looking at her posts from these accounts.
In written submissions, Mr Tomlinson said: "The allegation in the post was and remains false: Mrs Vardy had not leaked information about Mrs Rooney or her friends and family to the Sun newspaper from her private Instagram account.
"Mrs Rooney did not have the 'irrefutable' evidence that she claimed to have had: her so-called 'careful investigation' was nothing of the sort. If anyone had been leaking information from Mrs Rooney's private Instagram this was not done with Mrs Vardy's knowledge or approval."
Mr Tomlinson said Mrs Rooney "chose instead to publicly reveal Mrs Vardy as the culprit in a dramatic post crafted in the style of a 'whodunnit'".
"Her reputation has been very seriously damaged by this false and defamatory allegation which was designed to achieve maximum impact and succeeded in its aim."
He claimed Mrs Vardy and her family were subjected to abuse and threats "as a result of the Post."
"She was jeered and heckled at football matches and was the butt of endless jokes and further accusations, but the allegation in the Post was and remains false: Mrs Vardy had not leaked information about Mrs Rooney or her friends and family to the Sun newspaper from her Private Instagram account."
Mr Tomlinson said his client knew Mrs Rooney was "posting fake stories" and that "she did not directly leak any information from Mrs Rooney's private Instagram account to The Sun, nor did she do so indirectly by 'approving or condoning' anyone else to do so on her behalf."
"Furthermore, it is plain from the WhatsApp exchanges that Mrs Vardy was aware that Mrs Rooney was posting fake stories in order to see whether anyone would leak them, as well as the fact that she had previously been a suspect," he added.
Mr Sherborne told the court his client had proved Mrs Vardy was behind the leaks "despite the deliberate destruction of evidence by the claimant and Ms Watt".
Ms Watt's phone allegedly fell into the sea after a boat she was on hit a wave only a short time after the court issued an order for the phone to be searched.
Mr Sherborne said: "It is clear, at least on the balance of probabilities, which is all that is necessary, that the leaks arose from the habitual and established practice of the claimant, leaking information about those she knew via Ms Watt to The Sun and others.
"This was a sustained betrayal of the defendant's trust."