Rebekah Vardy’s tears after full day on stand, WhatsApp ‘gossip’ about celebrity’s affair…and all brought to an abrupt end by a fire alarm: How day two of Wagatha Christie drama unfolded
Today’s second instalment of the £3million Wagatha Christie libel trial between Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney featured a tearful appearance in the witness box, Whatsapp ‘gossip’ about a mystery celebrity affair and yet more foul-mouthed text messages – all brought to an end by a fittingly dramatic fire alarm.
Coleen publicly ‘outed’ her fellow WAG when she accused her of sharing three fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram with The Sun as part of what she described as a social media ‘sting’ operation. Rebekah vehemently denied the allegation – leading her to launch the pricey legal action which saw its second day on Wednesday.
While yesterday’s hearing dredged up Peter Andre‘s alleged ‘chipolata’ manhood, today focused on Rebekah’s relationship with her agent Caroline Watt.
She was accused of instructing Ms Watt to leak stories about footballer Riyad Mahrez, the model Danielle Lloyd‘s miscarriage and one unnamed high-profile celebrity’s alleged affair.
She was also accused of staging a photo to help push her column in The Sun, by deliberately sitting behind Coleen at the Euro 2016 tournament – before allegedly telling a worker at the stadium, who pointed out that that was not her seat, to ‘f**k off’. Vardy branded the claims ‘nonsense’.
By all accounts, the atmosphere remained palpable, with Mrs Rooney seen furiously taking notes throughout her WAG rival’s testimony – and that was before the court read out Whatsapp messages sent by Mrs Vardy, in which she branded Coleen a ‘c**t’ for unfollowing her on Instagram.
Rebekah, 40, (seen leaving court accompanied by a security guard) went for a full-on designer look, pairing a black, high-neck £1,780 Prada dress with a matching £1,245 blazer from Alexander McQueen
Coleen was once again accompanied by her Derby County manager husband Wayne (right), who carried a leather handbag containing a file
A court sketch showing Rebekah Vardy (left) appearing in the witness box in front of the Rooneys, with Wayne (middle) unable to look at her. Coleen was said to be furiously taking notes throughout
Rebekah Vardy broke down in tears today when Coleen Rooney ‘s lawyer brought up how Twitter trolls had once threatened to rape her two-year-old daughter
By all accounts, the atmosphere remained palpable, with Mrs Rooney seen furiously taking notes throughout her WAG rival’s testimony – and that was before the court read out Whatsapp messages sent by Mrs Vardy, in which she branded Coleen a ‘c**t’ for unfollowing her on Instagram. (Pictured: Vardy in witness box in artist’s court sketch)
Today Rebekah denied that photos of her and Coleen Rooney together at an international football match were a ‘set up’ following information from a photography agency.
Rebekah Vardy (left) and Coleen Rooney (right) are pictured climbing into their vehicles to be driven away from the High Court following day two of their so-called Wagatha Christie libel trial
There was a rare moment of light relief amidst the morning’s fierce cross-examination when Mrs Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne (pictured) mentioned that his junior, Ben Hamer, was ‘very adept at searching online through social media on his phone.’ Rebekah shot back, without smiling: ‘I know, Mr Hamer follows me on Twitter’, to laughter in the court.
‘Why does Wayne Rooney look like a potato?’: Social media is left in stitches by baffling Wagatha Christie court sketches
Social media users have been left in stitches by the Wagatha Christie court sketches – with some saying the artists have made Wayne Rooney look like a ‘potato’.
The former Manchester United star and current Derby County manager, 36, was one of those to get the court sketch treatment while attending his wife Coleen Rooney’s High Court libel battle with fellow WAG Rebekah Vardy.
Rebekah, the wife of Leicester City strike Jamie Vardy, is suing Coleen following a much-publicised fallout in 2019.
A court sketch of Wayne Rooney (left) in court today
Meanwhile Wayne Rooney, who had entered the court carrying a so-called man bag stuffed with files, could not look at Mrs Vardy as she gave evidence, opting to look straight ahead instead.
There was a rare moment of light relief amidst the morning’s fierce cross-examination when Mrs Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne mentioned that his junior, Ben Hamer, was ‘very adept at searching online through social media on his phone.’
Rebekah shot back, without smiling: ‘I know, Mr Hamer follows me on Twitter’, to laughter in the court.
Much like yesterday, the high-profile WAGS both put their best fashion foot forward.
Looking effortlessly elegant, Coleen, 36, opted for a £32.99 printed dress from Zara, which she teamed with one Chanel loafer; she has been sporting an air boot on her other foot since suffering a fracture after a fall at home in March.
Meanwhile Rebekah, 40, went for a full-on designer look, pairing a black, high-neck £1,780 Prada dress with a matching £1,245 blazer from Alexander McQueen, yet another Duchess of Cambridge-approved designer.
However proceedings almost had to be paused when Mrs Vardy became visibly emotional when she was again asked about the harassment from social media trolls, who had threatened to rape her two-year-old daughter.
This afternoon, barrister Mr Sherborne, for Mrs Rooney, referred to an article in The Sun from 2017 where Rebekah spoke of the ‘vile’ abuse she had received online – including the sick rape threats against her child.
‘Horrible stuff’, said Mr Sherborne, before judge Mrs Justice Steyn saw that Rebekah was dabbing at her eyes with a tissue and suggested the court took a break. Rebekah shook her head and carried on.
Asked again a few moments later if she would like a break, Rebekah replied: ‘I don’t think it’s going to make any difference, to be honest.’
Rebekah denied the suggestion she was building a relationship with The Sun by ‘consistently’ providing it with exclusives.
‘I’m working with The Sun because they are going to print the story. They are going to give me the opportunity to give my story,’ she said.
Earlier today, Mr Sherborne read out a series of texts in which Rebekah told her agent Caroline Watt to ‘leak’ stories about footballer Riyad Mahrez, the model Danielle Lloyd, and one unnamed high-profile celebrity.
In response, she told the court these exchanges were ‘never serious’ and Ms Watt would have ‘understood’ this – prompting Mr Sherborne to dramatically accuse her of lying under oath.
Coleen leaves the Royal Courts of Justice with her barrister, David Sherborne, following behind her in court dress. The WAG wore a £32.99 white and black patterned Zara dress to court
Jamie Vardy training with his fellow Leicester player Riyad Mahrez. Today, Rebekah was accused of leaking a story about Mahrez missing training
Rebekah admitted to sharing a tip about Danny Drinkwater – who, like Mahrez, was her husband Jamie’s colleague at Leicester
Wagatha Christie trial could damage both Vardy and Rooney, say PR and legal experts
Media lawyer Jonathan Coad said that whoever wins, they are unlikely to see much in the way of compensation due to their respective legal costs.
‘It’s a determination to be right. It’s human nature,’ he told the BBC.
‘Once someone’s taken a stand and said, ‘I’m right, you’re wrong,’ in a very public way – to a six-figure Twitter following – it’s a very big climb down to say, ‘I was wrong’.’
He said he expects each side to have spent upwards of £1million on legal fees, with the winner only set to recover around 70 per cent of these.
He said this would leave them with at least £300,000 still to pay, while damages, if ordered, will likely range from £15,000 to £40,000.
He added: ‘It makes no sense for either of them…even the winner is going to come out with a massive loss.’
Meanwhile, branding expert Chris Hunte, who runs the Addition agency, said both women could lose out on hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of brand deals.
He added: ‘Brands go into partnerships with celebrities to build consumer loyalty, ultimately increase sales and have a positive PR around associating with that person… For both these ladies, the impact is huge, especially in the short run here. They could be losing hundreds of thousands of pounds alone, just from being involved in his case.’
Rebekah did admit to sharing a tip about Danny Drinkwater following his car crash – who, like Mahrez, was her husband Jamie’s colleague at Leicester.
The WAG said she informed Ms Watt he was about to leave police custody because she was ‘deeply affected’ by drink-driving after her ex-husband ‘killed two people’.
But when asked about a text where she told Ms Watt she ‘wanted money’ for the story about Drinkwater, Rebekah insisted she was joking.
Rebekah’s ex-husband Steve Clarke was the boss at her timeshare company. She met him while in her twenties but they split after he caused a head-on crash which killed two people and saw him sentenced to two years in jail.
Mr Sherborne said: ‘You say ‘he’s only just been let out of the cells last night’ and then said you wanted paying for this.
‘To which she said ”which police station? They will need to confirm with the police station before they write it”.
‘The ”they” she’s referring to is The Sun, isn’t it?’
Rebekah confirmed ‘they’ referred to The Sun, but claimed her comment about wanting money ‘wasn’t serious’.
Drinkwater used to play for Leicester City with her husband, Jamie Vardy, and in 2019 played for Chelsea. He is now at Reading
Rebekah sent a message to Ms Watt to tell her that Drinkwater had been arrested, the court heard.
‘Danny Drinkwater arrested… Crashed his car drunk with 2 girls in it … both in hospital one with broken ribs,’ court documents show.
Rebekah also said: ‘I want paying for this.’
She told the court she was ‘deeply affected’ by drink-driving as her ex-husband ‘killed two people’.
Later, it emerged the story had already come out.
‘Holy F*** … I’m fuming I didn’t give it to you earlier,’ Rebekah sent in a message to Ms Watt.
‘Me too,’ Ms Watt replied. ‘That would have been a fortune.’
Rebekah told the court that was correct but added Ms Watt also included ‘laughing face’ emojis.
Wagatha YESTERDAY recap: C*** slurs, World Cup photo wars, Scooby Doo… and a ‘manhood resembling a ”chipolata”’
ACCORDING TO TEAM VARDY
- Rebekah was ‘deeply sorry’ for referring to Peter Andre’s manhood as a ‘chipolata’ after being confronted by her comments to a reporter;
- Said she feared she would lose her baby when Coleen made her allegations and ‘will never forgive’ her for ‘ruining my pregnancy’;
- Lawyer said she ‘had no choice’ but to bring the libel claim against Coleen to ‘establish her innocence and vindicate her reputation’;
- She’s been ‘jeered and heckled at football matches’ and ‘made the butt of endless jokes’ since the allegations emerged;
- Coleen’s famous Instagram sting was ‘flawed’, rather than a ‘careful investigation’ that produced ‘irrefutable’ evidence as she suggested;
- Coleen ‘revelled’ in comparisons to Miss Marple, Agatha Christie and the Scooby-Doo gang;
- Rebekah ‘has no knowledge’ of an incident that saw agent Caroline Watt’s phone fall into the North Sea and ‘doesn’t know’ if she was a leaker;
- Claim Rebekah was involved in ‘conspiracy’ and ‘campaign of deletion’ of evidence is ‘completely baseless”;
ACCORDING TO TEAM ROONEY
- Coleen’s barrister, David Sherborne, told the court the case hinges on ‘betrayal’ – whether it was by Rebekah who betrayed Coleen by leaking information to The Sun or Coleen’s agent, Caroline Watt, who was responsible;
- Suggested that if Ms Watt was responsible for leaking the stories ‘she was doing Rebekah’s dirty work like a hitman’ – and accused Rebekah of ‘lying’ for suggesting otherwise;
- Rebekah’s claim she sat behind Coleen at the 2016 Euros because they were the ‘nearest seats available’ was ‘untrue’, according to a new witness statement;
- ‘Harry Maguire’s fiancée Fern Hawkins was ‘upset and embarrassed’ by Rebekah’s WAGs paparazzi photo at 2018 World Cup’;
- Rebekah ‘had the means, motive and opportunity to leak stories about Coleen’;
- Re-read WhatsApp messages between Rebekah and her agent where Rebekah referred to Coleen as a ‘c***’.
‘I realise how badly they read and again I apologise,’ she says. ‘But again these are private conversations between two people… that knew each other’s sense of humour.’
The court had earlier heard Rebekah contacted her agent Ms Watt after Mahrez failed to turn up for training for the second day running.
At the time of the exchange in February 2018, Mahrez was seeking a move to Manchester City.
In the WhatsApp message, Rebekah wrote: ‘Mahrez not turned up for training again. The lads are fuming.’
Ms Watt suggested she contact TV reporter Rob Dorsett, who was one of the journalists covering the story for Sky Sports News.
Rebekah replied that she didn’t want the story to ‘come back on me.’
Under cross examination from Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne, she said: ‘It was pretty much unheard of for a player to go on strike and not turn up for training.
She said the story of the turmoil in the dressing room ‘absolutely 100 per cent did not come from me’.
But she admitted that ‘in a fleeting moment’ it appeared from Watt’s response that she was ‘prepared to do her dirty work’ for her.
She insisted the information didn’t come from husband Jamie, Leicester City’s star striker, saying: ‘It was speculation of just bits of information that I had heard and overheard, and also read in the press before.’
She added: ‘Yes, it doesn’t look good there, I was gossiping about things that we already in the public domain. I was just gossiping.’
Rebekah said she did not know whether or not her husband’s then team-mates were ‘fuming’ about Mr Mahrez not turning up for training.
‘It was probably something I was plucking from thin air. It was just a gossip that was all,’ she told the court.
She also said: ‘It was a speculation of bits of information that I’ve heard and overheard, and also they had been in the press before.’
But perhaps most relevant to proceedings, Rebekah admitted to directing her agent to look at Coleen’s private Instagram in relation a ‘fake’ post she made about a car crash.
In a January 2019 exchange, Ms Watt asked her: ‘Am I imagining this or did you say yesterday that Coleen had crashed her Honda?’ the court heard.
‘She defo has… Go in the Instagram,’ Rebekah replied, according to court documents.
Mr Sherborne highlighted that on the first day of the trial Rebekah had agreed it would have been ‘wrong’ if Ms Watt was looking at people’s private Instagram accounts through the use of Rebekah’s account.
He put it to Rebekah that, in this instance, she was directing her agent to Coleen’s Instagram.
‘Yes, I am,’ Rebekah said.
Coleen and Wayne leave their car outside the High Court this morning. The former England striker has been accompanying his wife throughout the trial
Rebekah was also asked during the cross examination about WhatsApp messages she sent to Caroline Watt about Coleen unfollowing her on Instagram.
‘What a c***,’ Rebekah said, when she realised Coleen was no longer following her.
Coleen’s lawyer Mr Sherborne told the court about the story that appeared in The Sun about Coleen being in a car crash, written by journalist Andy Halls.
Rebekah discussed in the texts whether this could have been the reason Coleen stopped following her.
Rebekah said in a message to Ms Watt that she doesn’t know how Coleen ‘would ever know that unless Halls has leaked it, in which case please don’t give him the Mr X stuff’.
Rebekah reveals lawyer follows her on Twitter in rare moment of light relief
There was a rare moment of light relief amidst the morning’s fierce cross-examination when Mr Sherborne mentioned that his junior, Ben Hamer, was ‘very adept at searching online through social media on his phone.’
Rebekah shot back, without smiling: ‘I know, Mr Hamer follows me on Twitter’ to laughter in the court.
‘Mr X’ was a married footballer who had an affair with a woman who became pregnant, the court heard.
Mr Sherborne suggested this means that if the journalist ‘has dobbed us in’, don’t give him the ‘juicy gossip’.
Rebekah said that the story about Mr X was ‘widely known’ and there was speculation on social media about it.
The WAG said it was ‘not true’ the car crash post had been leaked by Ms Watt to the Sun.
Mr Sherborne said Ms Watt came up with a ‘lie’ that her laptop had been left with ‘one of the girls’ at her company.
On the celebrity affair, Rebekah insisted she was ‘just joking’ when Mr Sherborne questioned her about what she said in reference to a story about a woman named only as Mrs F – a ‘well-known celebrity’ – her estranged husband Mr H and Mr G, a ‘well-known footballer’.
Rebekah told Ms Watt that she should ‘leak the story about her s******g G behind H’s back’,’ Mr Sherborne said.
Jamie Vardy’s wife said she was ‘a bit shocked and a bit disgusted about what I’d seen in the paper’.
Mr Sherborne asked whether she was so annoyed that she had instructed Ms Watt to leak a story about Mrs F allegedly cheating.
‘That’s the way it reads,’ she replied, adding: ‘Again, in context, bits of information mixed in with other bits of information. I was actually just joking about that one.’
Rebekah denied the suggestion it was ‘standard practice’ for her to leak private information to The Sun via her agent.
While questioning her over an alleged leak of a story about a footballer, referred to in court only as Mr X, being unfaithful to his partner, Mr Sherborne said: ‘That was standard practice, wasn’t it, that you gave information to Ms Watt and she would give it to the Sun?’
‘No,’ she replied.
When asked if Sun reporter Andy Halls was a ‘good conduit’ for information, she said: ‘No, that’s not the case. I never gave him information.’
Rebekah fell out with another high-profile WAG which led to a legal dispute, the High Court heard.
The court heard Vardy had a ‘spat on Instagram’ with Danielle Lloyd, the former wife of ex Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie O’Hara.
Rebekah’s dispute with Danielle Lloyd (pictured) led to ‘legal correspondence’ between the pair the court heard
A dispute led to ‘legal correspondence’ between the pair, the court heard.
Coleen’s barrister claimed messages between Rebekah and her agent showed she was trying to leak information about a pregnant woman who went on honeymoon to the Maldives but went on to suffer a miscarriage.
Vardy revealed the woman was Lloyd but denied leaking stories.
She explained why she sent a message during the exchange saying: ‘She’s gone and done it now.’
Explaining the message under cross-examination she said: ‘She had been on holiday to the Maldives in the early stages of pregnancy. You wouldn’t travel to the Maldives because of Zika virus.’
She insisted she had not had a ‘major beef’ with Lloyd but said the pair had ‘more of a disagreement,’ about selecting the gender of babies.
Rebekah told the court she did not agree with gender selection while Lloyd, who had the opposite view, had appeared on TV discussing the issue.
Rebekah told the court Lloyd had sent her ‘a few irritated messages’ adding: ‘She just asked me a couple of questions about a few things’.
She insisted she ‘was not ‘privy to any information’ on Lloyd and did not leak the story about her.
The court has heard that Coleen had placed a false ‘story’ about gender selection on her private Instagram account saying she had husband Wayne were trying for a baby girl after having four sons.
It was part of her ‘Wagatha Christie’ investigation into who had been leaking stories about her to the press.
Who’s who in the case? Former friends who had a bitter falling out, the former Virgin Atlantic air hostess, and the celebrity lawyers going head to head
Rebekah Vardy with her agent, Caroline Watt, who had been due to give evidence in the trial but was recently found to be ‘not fit’ to take part, also withdrawing her written evidence
The footballer’s wife bringing the claim, Rebekah’s family was thrust into the limelight after her husband Jamie helped Leicester City on their way to an unlikely Premier League win in 2016.
The model and TV personality, 40, appeared on I’m A Celebrity in 2017 before later appearing on Dancing On Ice in 2021, as well as making appearances on Loose Women.
The mother-of-five recently wrote a children’s book with her husband Jamie, entitled Cedric The Little Sloth With A Big Dream, which follows a little sloth who hopes to become a footballer.
Coleen, the footballer’s wife defending the claim, is perhaps now better known as ‘Wagatha Christie’ after her social media posts at the heart of the libel trial went viral.
The 36-year-old has had a varied career including TV presenting, writing, as well as fronting an exercise DVD.
Coleen met her husband when she was 12, as the couple went to the same school in Liverpool.
They began dating when they both turned 16 and have four sons together – Kai Wayne, Klay Anthony, Kit Joseph and Cass Mac.
Mrs Vardy’s friend and agent, Ms Watt has featured in some of the preliminary hearings, despite not being a party to the claim or giving evidence at the trial.
She is a former Virgin Atlantic air hostess who has been Rebekah’s agent for the past seven years, helping to build her profile in the national media.
Reports that she no longer represents her following the current controversy engulfing the two have been dismissed as inaccurate with Ms Watt remaining close to Ms Vardy both professionally and personally.
Ms Watt, 39, is married to former footballer Steve Watt, who played briefly for Chelsea, making one Premier League appearance for two minutes in 2005 and Swansea City. He is currently manager of Kent non-league side Hythe Town and they have two children.
After leaving the airline industry, Ms Watt began working as an agent in the world of entertainment, quickly developing a reputation for her communication skills and ability to network.
She was formerly employed by talent agency The Frontrow Partnership but left in 2019 to go it alone and took her main client and close friend, Ms Vardy with her.
Ms Watt has been credited with building Ms Vardy’s public profile by ensuring that she regularly featured in the national media and also brokered the deal for her to appear on the hit reality TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2018.
Ms Watt started representing the high-profile WAG in 2015, when her husband, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy shot to fame.
She is a regular visitor to the Vardy’s Lincolnshire home and also socialises with Ms Vardy, attending glitzy parties and bars.
Her other clients include the former Page 3 girl Nicola McLean but it is Ms Vardy that has been the biggest asset in her career as an agent.
Hugh Tomlinson QC (left), who is representing Ms Vardy, is a top-flight privacy silk who has launched a number of battles with the Press in a wide-spanning career. David Sherborne (right), 53, is acting for Mrs Rooney
Hugh Tomlinson QC
An experienced media barrister, Mr Tomlinson is at the front of Mrs Vardy’s legal team in the libel case.
Called to the bar in 1983, his previous clients include the Prince of Wales in his legal battle against the Mail on Sunday over his diaries, easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and oligarch Roman Abramovich.
Mr Tomlinson, who became a QC in 2002, is a board member of campaign group Hacked Off.
Mr Sherborne also has a reputation as the barrister the rich and famous turn to for legal assistance – his previous client list includes Diana, Princess of Wales, Hollywood actor Michael Douglas and former prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie.
Mrs Rooney’s barrister is no stranger to high-profile libel trials at the Royal Courts of Justice, notably representing Johnny Depp in the actor’s 2020 libel claim against the publisher of the Sun, News Group Newspapers (NGN).
The barrister, called to the bar in 1992, has also represented dozens of claimants, including celebrities, suing NGN over phone hacking at the News Of The World.
Mrs Justice Steyn
The High Court judge overseeing the case, Mrs Justice Steyn (pictured right) was appointed in 2019 and sits in the Queen’s Bench Division – the part of the High Court which deals with defamation, personal injury and breach of contract claims.
As well as overseeing the ‘Wagatha Christie’ claim, other prominent cases she has heard include Arron Banks’ libel claim against journalist Carole Cadwalladr and the FDA union’s unsuccessful legal challenge over Boris Johnson’s decision to support Priti Patel following bullying accusations.
The daughter of former Law Lord Lord Steyn, Mrs Justice Steyn covered a variety of cases as a barrister, including a case over the expansion of Heathrow airport.