Rebekah Vardy has lost the ‘Wagatha Christie’ High Court libel battle she brought against Coleen Rooney over a viral social media post.
In her judgment, Judge Justice Steyn said Rooney had succeeded in establishing that the essence of her social media post was “substantially true” – that’s to say Vardy was responsible for leaking her private information to the press.
In her conclusion, she said: “I have found that Ms Vardy was party to the disclosure to The Sun… Ms Vardy knew of and condoned this behaviour, actively engaging in it by directing Ms Watt to the Private Instagram Account, sending her screenshots of Ms Rooney’s posts, drawing attention to items of potential interest to the press, and answering additional queries raised by the press via Ms Watt.”
Wagatha Christie was Vardy’s agent and friend, and had been implicated in the leaking of the private posts during evidence heard in court. She did not give evidence during the hearing.
The court praised Rooney’s evidence as “honest and reliable”, but labelled Vardy’s evidence: “manifestly inconsistent… evasive or implausible”.
She added: “Nevertheless, I find that it is, unfortunately, necessary to treat Mrs Vardy’s evidence with very considerable caution.
“There were many occasions when her evidence was manifestly inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence, e.g. in relation to the World Cup 2018 and the photoshopped pictures, and others where she was evasive.”
Mrs Justice Steyn continued: “Mrs Vardy was generally unwilling to make factual concessions, however implausible her evidence.
“This inevitably affects my overall view of her credibility, although I have borne in mind that untruthful evidence may be given to mask guilt or to fortify innocence.”
However, Vardy has disputed the verdict made by the judge, describing the ruling as “wrong” and not one she can accept.
“I am extremely sad and disappointed at the decision that the judge has reached,” Vardy said in a statement. “It is not the result that I had expected, nor believed it was just. 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.” (Sky)