Vardy alleged that Rooney damaged her reputation with her “Wagatha Christie” investigation into who leaked Instagram Stories to the press, which Rooney concluded was Vardy.
Dame Judge Karen Stein ruled that Rooney had succeeded in establishing that the substance of the defamation was “largely real”.
A ruling issued today, two months after the trial, by the Queen’s Bench division of the High Court of Justice found that Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt were parties to a number of false stories Rooney had posted on Instagram and that Watt passed these stories directly to a journalist at The Sun.
Ms. Stein ruled that Vardy was actively involved in the process. I also found that there were holes in Vardy’s evidence. Watt did not attend the trial and the main reason was that she knew that the evidence she was due to give (but then withdrew) was grossly incorrect.
Today’s ruling said: “Ms. Vardy did not call her close friend and agent, Mrs. Watt, as a witness.” “Given the allegation that information from the private Instagram account was disclosed directly to reporters at The Sun by Ms Watt, with Ms Vardy’s knowledge and consent, Ms Watt is a vital witness to the matters at hand, and her absence is striking.”
Crucial WhatsApp messages between Vardy and Watt from 2017 and 2019 were missing and the judge decided to intentionally delete them.
The 75-page ruling document also criticized the abuse Vardy has received online since Rooney was published in 2019.
“Some members of the public responded to the disclosure post by subjecting Mrs. Vardy to vile abuse, including letters to wish her, her family, and even her (unborn) child, in the most horrific of terms,” the ruling read.
“Nothing in which Mrs. Vardy has been charged, nor any of the findings in this judgment, provides any justification or excuse for subjecting her or her family, or any other person involved in this case, to such vitriolic criticism.”
A seven-day trial took place in the Supreme Court in May.
Rooney famously posted on social media in October 2019 that she believed Vardy was responsible for leaking content from Rooney’s private Instagram account. Rooney described in court her “stinging process” to reduce the number of followers who could view her Instagram posts in an effort to find out how stories about her reached the press, specifically The Sun.
She planted fake Instagram stories and eventually made them visible to only one account, which belongs to Rebekah Vardy, who has always denied Rooney’s libel accusations in 2020 in what she described as a last resort to “prove her reputation”.
Then-Derby manager Wayne Rooney attended court on nearly every day of the trial, while Rebecca Vardy’s husband Jamie appeared on the day Wayne Rooney gave evidence of a meeting he said he had during Euro 2016, when Rooney said he was asked by manager Roy Hodgson. To talk to Vardy about his wife’s press column. The Leicester striker denied the meeting ever happened, saying: “Wayne talks nonsense.”
(Photo: Getty Images)
Wagatha Christie unveiled