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Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Wagatha Christie case (part 2) | News

The so-called ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial is due to begin next week with Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney still locked in an expensive and increasingly messy libel battle.

Rooney, the wife of Derby County manager Wayne, ran an elaborate sting operation that led her to claim, in late 2019, that Vardy, the wife of Leicester City striker Jamie, was the person leaking stories to the Sun.

Until now, Vardy has said she was not responsible for leaking the material and did not know who did. But as Jim Waterson tells Nosheen Iqbal, last week Rooney’s lawyers told the high court that Vardy had realised Caroline Watt, her agent and close friend, may have handed over information on Rooney to Sun journalists.

As media lawyer Mark Stephens explains, the burden of proof falls heavily on Rooney. She must show not just that it was someone with access to Vardy’s account that was leaking stories on her behalf, but that Vardy herself was complicit.

Rooney’s legal team have struggled to obtain some potentially crucial messages from Vardy and Watt, after a series of incidents that have affected the duo’s electronic devices, the court has been told. Watt accidentally dropped her mobile phone in the North Sea shortly after Rooney’s lawyers requested to search it for messages.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of (left to right) Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Rebekah Vardy, judge Mr Justice Warby and David Sherborne, representing Coleen Rooney, at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Photograph: Elizabeth Cook/PA

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