The two former friends became embroiled in a public dispute three years ago, after Rooney conducted an online “sting” operation to find out who was leaking stories from her private Instagram account to the Sun. After planting false stories to see which got out, Rooney shared her discovery, writing: “It Was……… Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Vardy denied the accusation. She then sued Rooney for libel in a multi-million pound case, claiming her reputation had been destroyed. On Friday at noon, the judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, ruled that Vardy had lost the libel suit.
Coleen Rooney is married to Wayne Rooney, England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer, while Vardy is married to Jamie Vardy, the Leicester – and former England – striker. Both of the husbands attended parts of the trial that took place back in May.
In her ruling, Steyn said that “significant parts” of Vardy’s evidence were not credible. She also said that Vardy, along with her former agent Caroline Watt, had deliberately destroyed evidence. Vardy had lost old WhatsApp messages and Watt had dropped her phone in the sea, soon after it was requested to be searched.
“It is likely that Ms Vardy deliberately deleted her WhatsApp chat with Ms Watt, and that Ms Watt deliberately dropped her phone in the sea,” said Steyn. On many occasions, she continued, Vardy’s evidence “was manifestly inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence, evasive or implausible.
Perhaps most damning to the personal reputation Vardy tried so hard to protect, Steyn concluded Vardy likely “knew of, condoned and was actively engaged” in the process of Watt, as her agent, leaking stories to the Sun.
Vardy’s barrister, Hugh Tomlinson, told the court his client would have to be either “very clever or very cynical” to manually delete WhatsApp messages, in what would constitute an “extraordinarily complicated conspiracy” to have deleted all the evidence.
Speaking after the ruling, Rebekah Vardy announced she does not intend to appeal against Steyn’s decision.
“The case is over,” she said in a statement, in which she also pleaded with people who have been “abusing me and my family” to stop.
“As I explained in my evidence, I, my family and even my unborn baby, were subjected to disgusting messages and vile abuse following Coleen’s Post and these have continued even during the course of the trial.”
She said she was “extremely sad and disappointed at the decision that the judge has reached. I brought this action to vindicate my reputation and am devastated by the judge’s finding.
“The judge accepted that publication of Coleen’s post was not in the ‘public interest’ and she also rejected her claim that I was the ‘Secret Wag’. But as for the rest of her judgement, she got it wrong and this is something I cannot accept.”