Rebekah Vardy, spouse of Leicester Metropolis striker Jamie Vardy (L), leaves the Royal Courts of Justice following the ultimate day of the high-profile trial dubbed by the media as “Wagatha Christie” case the place Rebekah Vardy is suing Coleen Rooney (R) for libel after being publicly accused of leaking personal tales to the press on Could 19, 2022 in London, England.
Viktor Szymanowicz Future Publishing | Getty Pictures
LONDON — The so-called “Wagatha Christie” trial that has gripped the British public reached a verdict on Friday, with Rebekah Vardy dropping her libel case in opposition to fellow soccer star spouse Coleen Rooney.
The UK Excessive Courtroom dominated in opposition to Vardy and in favor of Rooney after a years’ lengthy dispute between the 2 “wags” — soccer gamers’ wives and girlfriends — which featured all of the twists and turns of certainly one of Agatha Christie’s most interesting thriller novels.
Choose Justice Steyn delivered her written verdict Friday following a vitriolic and salacious two-week trial in Could.
It comes two years after Vardy sued Rooney for defamation after a dispute over a string of Instagram posts.
Rooney alleged that tales from her personal Instagram account have been leaked by Vardy to journalists at British tabloid newspaper The Solar.
Vardy vehemently denied the claims, arguing that the accusations had brought about her “public abuse on an enormous scale,” and suing Rooney in an try to clear her title.
Nevertheless, in her ruling Friday, Steyn mentioned it was “possible” that Vardy’s then-agent Caroline Watt “undertook the direct act” of passing info to The Solar.
“The proof … clearly reveals, in my opinion, that Mrs Vardy knew of and condoned this conduct, actively participating in it by directing Ms Watt to the personal Instagram account, sending her screenshots of Mrs Rooney’s posts, drawing consideration to gadgets of potential curiosity to the press, and answering further queries raised by the press through Ms Watt,” she mentioned.
How did we get right here?
Rooney and Vardy entered the highlight within the 2000s and 2010s because the so-called wags — a now lesser-used time period owing to its sexist connotations — of former England soccer captain Wayne Rooney and Leicester Metropolis participant Jamie Vardy, respectively.
However the pair, as soon as buddies, rose to non-public infamy after a public fallout.
Rooney, suspecting somebody of leaking tales from her personal Instagram account to the press, launched into a “sting” operation in 2019.
She posted a slew of pretend tales — together with about touring to Mexico for a “gender choice” process and the basement of her house flooding — progressively limiting her followers to see if the tales would nonetheless emerge within the press.
Ultimately, when only one follower stayed and the tales continued to leak, Rooney took to social media to submit the conclusions of her findings: “It is………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Vardy, who denied the accusations, then introduced the libel case in opposition to Rooney, saying her repute had been broken.
Rooney maintained that her actions have been justified within the pursuits of fact and public curiosity.
What occurred in court docket?
The case went to a seven-day trial in Could, by which Rooney, 36, and Vardy, 40, each took to the stand to share their accounts.
In an emotionally-charged listening to, Rooney’s protection introduced proof of Vardy’s obvious disregard for different folks’s privateness, together with her sale of a “kiss-and-tell” story following a one-night stand with fellow superstar Peter Andre.
Vardy ultimately admitted that she had beforehand tried to leak one story about footballer Danny Drinkwater, messaging her agent, Watt, to say: “I need paying for this.”
She additionally appeared to just accept that Watt had leaked info from Rooney’s personal Instagram account to a newspaper, however denied that it was “new” info.
Watt was deemed unfit to testify through the court docket case. The Solar’s journalists didn’t give proof both.
An costly saga
In her ruling Friday, Choose Steyn mentioned that Vardy suffered “a level of self-deception” to the extent of her involvement within the leaks to The Solar, including that “there have been many events” when Vardy’s proof “was manifestly inconsistent.”
She additionally famous that whereas Vardy might have felt “genuinely offended by the accusation made in opposition to her by Mrs Rooney within the reveal submit” the accusations of libel — a kind of defamation in written type — have been unsubstantiated.
Rooney mentioned Friday that she felt vindicated by the ruling.
“Naturally, I’m happy that the decide has present in my favor along with her judgment immediately,” she mentioned, in accordance with an announcement issued to the PA information company.
Nevertheless, she famous that the trial was certainly one of extreme expense at a time when many individuals throughout the nation are going through a worsening cost-of-living disaster.
“It wasn’t a case I ever sought or wished,” she mentioned. “I by no means believed it ought to have gone to court docket at such expense in occasions of hardship for therefore many individuals, when the cash may have been much better spent serving to others.”
Vardy’s loss signifies that she’s going to obtain no damages, however Rooney will probably be entitled to say prices.
Nonetheless, any damages Rooney receives are prone to be minimal in opposition to the price of the case, with authorized consultants suggesting every lady will now face authorized payments in extra of £1 million ($1.2 million).
Vardy mentioned she was “extraordinarily unhappy and disillusioned on the decide’s ruling.”
“It isn’t the consequence that I had anticipated, nor imagine was simply. I introduced this motion to vindicate my repute and am devastated by the decide’s discovering,” she mentioned in an announcement.