Wagatha Christie Verdict: Rebekah Vardy Loses Libel Case Against Coleen Rooney

Rebekah Vardy has lost her libel case against Coleen Rooney, bringing the so-called “Wagatha Christie” trial that had captivated the UK to an end.

On Friday, judge Mrs Justice Steyn dismissed Vardy’s libel claim against Rooney after a multi-million pound trial earlier this year. Vardy, the wife of England footballer Jamie Vardy, had sued Rooney, the wife of England football star Wayne Rooney, after she was accused of leaking false stories to the press.

In October 2019, Rooney posted on Instagram saying she had noticed personal stories from her social media being leaked to the tabloid press, and that she had solved the mystery of the source of the leak to the Sun newspaper.

Rooney, 36, said she had narrowed down the source by restricting fake stories – such as one about a flood in her basement – on her IG stories so they could only be viewed by only one account. 

“I blocked everyone from viewing my Instagram stories except ONE account,” Rooney wrote, “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!

"It's………….. Rebekah Vardy's account,” Rooney wrote.

The so-called “Wagatha Christie” case – a combination of the famous detective writer and the acronym WAG (wives and girlfriends) – has captivated the UK with its explosive stories and dramatic twists and turns, including phones lost to the bottom of the sea and discussion of celebrity penis size.

"The claim has been dismissed,” a summary of Friday’s ruling says. “The defendant succeeded in establishing that the essence of the libel was substantially true. The defendant’s alternative defence of publication in the public interest was rejected."

The ruling is a huge defeat for Vardy – both professionally and financially – who brought the case against Rooney to protect her reputation.

“The Court found that it was necessary to treat the Claimant’s evidence [Vardy’s evidence] with very considerable caution, determining that significant parts of her evidence were not credible,” the summary of the ruling says. “There were many occasions when the Claimant’s evidence was manifestly inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence, evasive or implausible.”

Although Rooney had carefully worded the Instagram post to only accuse Vardy’s account and not Vardy personally, a judge previously ruled that this was as good as accusing Vardy herself, and so the defence had to prove that Vardy was leaking the stories. 

In libel cases in the UK, it is the person being sued who holds the burden of proof. In this case, that was Rooney.

A seven-day high court trial ensued. In it, texts between Vardy and her assistant, Caroline Watt, showed them calling Rooney “a “nasty bitch” and “a c**t” and saying she “would love to leak those stories x.”

The high court heard that Watt’s phone couldn’t be accessed as it had fallen into the North Sea just days before it was requested by the court.

It also heard that Vardy had a history of sharing personal information with the media after she told the Sun that former singer “Peter’s [Andre] hung like a small chipolata… the smallest trouser equipment I’ve ever seen.”

Vardy insisted she “deeply regrets” the incident. 

After the verdict was passed, Rooney issued a statement saying she “never sought or wanted” the case to go to court.

“I never believed it should have gone to court at such expense in times of hardship for so many people when the money could have been far better spent helping others,” she said.

Rooney added: “These leaks… continued for almost two years, intruding on my privacy and that of my family. Although I bear Mrs Vardy no ill-will, today’s judgment makes clear that I was right in what I said in my posts of October 2019.”


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