19/11/2020 12:08 GMT

Coleen Rooney 'Villainised' Rebekah Vardy With Infamous 'WAGatha Christie' Post, Court Hears

Rebekah's lawyer claimed she has been "subjected to an undue and unjustified attack that has had, and continues to have, an impact on her”.

Coleen Rooney has been accused of “villainising” fellow footballer’s wife Rebekah Vardy, at the first hearing in the pair’s libel case.

Last year, Coleen made headlines across the globe when she claimed her Instagram account was the source of fake stories appearing in The Sun newspaper.

In her now-infamous Twitter post, Coleen wrote: “To try and prove [who was behind the stories being leaked to the press], I came up with an idea. I blocked everyone from viewing my Instagram stories except ONE account (those on my private account must have been wondering why I haven’t had stories on there for a while).

“Over the past five months I have posted a series of false stories to see if they made their way into the Sun newspaper. And you know what, they did!

“Now I know for certain which account/individual it’s come from. I have saved and screenshotted all of the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account.” 

Rebekah has always vehemently denied the accusations, in what became known as the “WAGatha Christie” row, and filed a libel lawsuit against Coleen earlier this year. 

At the first High Court hearing on Thursday, Rebekah’s legal representative Hugh Tomlinson QC branded Coleen’s accusations an “untrue and unjustified defamatory attack”, insisting: “In fact, she did nothing wrong. Whatever leaks there were did not come from her.”

Tomlinson claimed that Coleen’s language – specifically the fact she said she knew “for certain” who was behind the leaks to The Sun – left no doubt for the reasonable reader, stating: “That is not the language of suspicion, that is the language of finding out the truth.” 

Tomlinson continued: “The fact that both women are married to professional footballers has led to this action being trivialised in some media coverage as ‘Wag wars’ but the impact on Mrs Vardy was not trivial.

“She has been subjected to an undue and unjustified attack that has had, and continues to have, an impact on her.”

Dave J Hogan via Getty Images
Rebekah Vardy

Referring to the final line of the post, in which Coleen famously wrote “it’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account”, Tomlinson added: “The person is Rebekah Vardy, the finger is being pointed at her, as the villain, the person, the someone, the one person.

“They are going to think [Coleen] has revealed the culprit… it was Rebekah Vardy that was leaking to The Sun, she was the one person who had access to the three stories, and she was the one person who had betrayed Mrs Rooney’s trust for many years.”

In her written claim filed with the court, Rebakah Vardy said she had worried she could suffer a miscarriage because of the stress she experienced around Coleen’s post, as she was pregnant at the time.

She also “suffered extreme distress, hurt, anxiety and embarrassment as a result of the publication of the post and the events which followed”, her lawyers have said.

David Sherborne, representing Coleen, said in written submissions: “It is true that the claimant was responsible for consistently passing on information about the defendant’s private Instagram posts and stories to The Sun, and that this was part of her history and practice of providing private information to the press, especially The Sun, with whom she had a very close relationship.”

Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images
Coleen Rooney

He also said: “The fact that these sting operation stories also then appeared in The Sun, after access to her private account was limited to just the @beckyvardy account, is the reason why the defendant published the post which is the subject of this claim.

“The impression the reader would take away would be the essential message, that it was Rebekah Vardy’s account that was the source of private stories about the defendant appearing in The Sun – not Rebekah Vardy herself. The impression the post gives the ordinary reader stops short of guilt.”

Neither Rebekah Vardy nor Coleen Rooney was present in court on Thursday, with Rebekah being pictured at rehearsals for the upcoming series of Dancing On Ice in Nottingham earlier in the day.

After beginning legal proceedings, Rebekah told Good Morning Britain in September: “We tried to sort things out amicably, it just didn’t work. I understand people think it’s ridiculous, but what was I meant to do? I need to clear my name. I want to clear my name.”

Coleen previously said she found the lawsuit “disappointing”, suggesting the money involved could have been put to better use in a pandemic.