Rebekah Vardy storms out of court after Rooney's lawyer says she 'destroyed evidence'

19 May 2022, 11:40 | Updated: 19 May 2022, 14:43

Rebekah Vardy has arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the final day of the "Wagatha Christie" libel trial
Rebekah Vardy has arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the final day of the "Wagatha Christie" libel trial. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Rebekah Vardy stormed out of the court room after being accused of "deliberately destroying" evidence during the final day of the "Wagatha Christie" libel trial.

Mrs Vardy, who wore a black suit over a bright green top, left the courtroom with a laptop in her hand about half an hour after the hearing started. She was not accompanied by her husband, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.

She returned after forty-minutes to the courtroom to sit in front of her lawyers.

During the closing statements on Thursday morning, Coleen Rooney's lawyer, David Sherborne said the court "can and should conclude" that the loss of WhatsApp messages between Rebekah Vardy and Caroline Watt was "the result of deliberate deletion".

Discussing the missing parts of the WhatsApp chat between Rebekah Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt, David Sherborne said: "The fact that a successful export and download of the data had already occurred before the supposed malfunction.... is critical."

Mr Sherborne said that Rebekah Vardy's evidence is that the "corruption supposedly happened" when she tried to upload the file in stage two of the data export.

The barrister continued: "It simply was not possible for what she claims happened to cause the loss of data on the device. "Try as she might, Mrs Vardy's counsel put the question again and again to no avail. It is not a possibility."

Mr Sherborne said there was "only one conclusion", that Mrs Vardy had deliberately destroyed parts of the chat.

He added: "It was done to cover up incriminating evidence."

The barrister alleged there were "numerous examples" of Rebekah Vardy and Caroline Watt "conspiring to, and indeed, passing private and personal information to the press about other individuals".

He claimed this showed Mrs Vardy's "propensity" and "willingness" to "leak information".

Read more: Coleen admits marriage troubles and Wagatha Christie sting was 'last resort' after leaks

Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Rebekah Vardy, said her libel dispute with Coleen Rooney was a "very simple case" when "one clears away the conspiracy theories".

"Has Mrs Rooney proved that Mrs Vardy leaked the information from her post that she's accused of leaking?" Mr Tomlinson said.

He added: "Mrs Vardy's case is and always has been that she did not leak the information nor did she authorise anyone else to leak."

"She does not know to this day what happened," Mr Tomlinson said, adding: "She does not know where this information came from."

He said that Mrs Vardy accepts that it is "possible" that her former agent Caroline Watt was "the source" of the leaks.

"She doesn't want to be in the position of accusing her friend and former long-term agent of doing something wrong," he added.

"She sees, as everybody does, the indications that point that way. Her fundamental position is she doesn't know what happened."

The QC described the arguments that Mrs Vardy had a "conspiracy to delete" messages or had deleted some in a selective way as an "incredible theory".

"There was an export of a very large number of Whatsapp messages," he told the court. "Why would Mrs Vardy, if she was destroying evidence, do it in that selective and complex way?" Mr Tomlinson asked.

"If she was a wicked litigant who was trying to deceive the court by getting rid of damaging evidence, the idea she would do it by getting rid of images and not text .... simply beggars belief."

Coleen and Wayne Rooney will not attend court for the final day of the trail, which was due to finish on Wednesday, as they have jetted off on holiday with their four children.

David Sherborne said that the couple have asked him to pass on "individual apologies" and to explain "that they intend no disrespect to the court".

The lawyer, highlighting that the husband and wife had attended the trial throughout so far, added: "They had a long-standing travel arrangement with their four children which was booked in advance by their lawyers."

Mr Sherborne said this was done on the understanding that Thursday was not going to be a day the court was sitting.

The judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, said: "I don't take offence".

Mr Sherborne later discussed Jamie Vardy, "who made a brief appearance in court on the last day of evidence".

The barrister said that, while Mr Vardy gave a statement to the press criticising Wayne Rooney's evidence, the Leicester City player did not give evidence in the trial.

Read more: Rebekah and Jamie Vardy 'will not flee to US after Wagatha Christie case', she says

Mrs Vardy, who wore a black suit over a bright green top, left the courtroom with a laptop in her hand about half an hour after the hearing started.
Mrs Vardy, who wore a black suit over a bright green top, left the courtroom with a laptop in her hand about half an hour after the hearing started. Picture: Alamy

Mr Sherborne said the trial had not heard evidence from the journalists who wrote the Sun articles in dispute in the case.

The barrister claimed the inference from this was that "they would be unable to say that Mrs Vardy was not the direct source or indirect source through (Rebekah Vardy's agent) Ms Watt".

Adding that the court had also not heard evidence from agent Caroline Watt who he alleged "clearly had repeated contact with these journalists".

Ms Watt had a "hand-in-glove" relationship with Mrs Vardy, Mr Sherborne claimed, adding: "No Caroline Watt is like Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark".

Over six days in the courtroom, Ms Vardy and Ms Rooney have each given evidence, as has Ms Rooney's husband, Wayne Rooney.

Outlining Ms Vardy's case on Tuesday, her barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC told the court she had "no choice" but to bring the legal action against Ms Rooney so she could clear her name and "establish her innocence and vindicate her reputation".

David Sherborne, representing Ms Rooney, told Ms Justice Steyn - the judge hearing the trial - that the case is essentially a "detective story" and "like any good detective story, you never find a person standing over the body with a smoking gun".

He said there was "inference", saying: "You do not have to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt, you just have to conclude that it is more likely than not that Mrs Vardy was responsible, either directly or through Ms (Caroline - Mrs Vardy's friend and agent) Watt."

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Ms Rooney is defending the claim on the basis of truth and public interest.

The fake stories she planted on her Instagram during the sting operation featured her travelling to Mexico for a "gender selection" procedure, her planning to return to TV and the basement flooding at her home.

In an infamous social media post, she wrote: "I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them.

"It's ........... Rebekah Vardy's account."

The judge will reserve her ruling on the case to a later date.