Rebekah Vardy has lost the 'Wagatha Christie' libel trial that she brought against Coleen Rooney over her viral social media post.
After sitting through the heavily-publicised trial in May at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mrs Justice Steyn made her ruling today (Friday, 29 July).
Mrs Justice Steyn said in her ruling: “In my judgment, the conclusions that I have reached as to the extent to which the claimant engaged in disclosing to The Sun information to which she only had access as a permitted follower of an Instagram account which she knew, and Mrs Rooney repeatedly asserted, was private, suffice to show the single meaning is substantially true.”
The trial between the two women stemmed from a viral social media post in October 2019 posted by Coleen, who claimed she had carried out a 'sting operation' to uncover who had been leaking 'false stories' about her private life to the press.
In the post, Coleen, who is married to former Manchester United player Wayne Rooney, accused Rebekah, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, of leaking the stories, after posting three fake stories to her private Instagram account for only Vardy to see.
The shocking social media post from Coleen read: "I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……….Rebekah Vardy’s account."
Rebekah outright denied leaking the stories and sued her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, but Coleen defended the claim on the basis her accusatory post was 'substantially true'.
During the trial, Coleen's barrister David Sherborne argued that Rebekah had a 'habitual and established practice' of leaking information about those she knew to The Sun newspaper, through her friend and former agent Caroline Watt.
Referring to Coleen's viral Instagram post, the barrister also pointed out that it was 'what she believed at the time… and it is what she believes even more so now that we have got to the end of the case.'
Over the course of the trial, the court was shown screengrabs of the fabricated stories posted from Coleen's Instagram account, only viewed by Rebekah's account.
However, Rebekah's barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC countered that Coleen had 'failed to produce any evidence' that Rebekah had 'regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower' of her private Instagram account by passing on information from it to The Sun.
Mr Tomlinson added that the libel battle was a 'very simple case' when 'one clears away the conspiracy theories'.
He added: "Mrs Vardy’s case is and always has been that she did not leak the information nor did she authorise anyone else to leak. She does not know to this day what happened. She does not know where this information came from."
The barrister also claimed that Rebekah suffered 'very serious harm to her reputation' as a result of Coleen's post.
It is believed the total legal costs of the case will be in the region of £3 million, most of which will now be borne by Mrs Vardy.