Rebekah Vardy – live: Coleen Rooney ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial starting today



<p>The ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial involving Coleen Rooney (left) and Rebekah Vardy is set to begin (PA)</p>
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The ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial involving Coleen Rooney (left) and Rebekah Vardy is set to begin (PA)

(PAWire)

The high-profile libel case between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy is finally set to go to trial today.

It comes after months of preliminary hearings over the case, which centers around Ms Rooney publicly accusing the fellow footballer’s wife of being the source of stories about her that were leaked to The Sun newspaper.

The wife of ex-England star Wayne Rooney was dubbed “Wagatha Christie” when she made the allegations, which she claimed had followed a months-long “sting operation”.

She wrote: “It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.”

Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the accusations and is suing Mrs Rooney for libel.

Under English defamation law, the onus is now on Mrs Rooney to prove her post was “substantially true”.

The trial is expected to begin at London’s Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday following the preliminary hearings, which neither of the pair attended.

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Rooney and Vardy sit feet apart

Coleen Rooney and her husband Wayne are sitting together at one end of the front bench in the courtroom facing judge Mrs Justice Steyn, while Rebekah Vardy sits feet away at the opposite end.

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 10:55

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Proceedings begin

Proceedings have begun at the High Court. Defense and prosecution are currently dealing with some “housekeeping” matters before the hearing properly gets underway.

Chiara Giordano10 May 2022 10:49

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Coleen Rooney still wearing boot for ‘fracture’

Coleen Rooney arrived in court wearing a plastic air boot on her left foot this morning.

The wife of the Derby County manager has been spotted wearing the brace since mid-March.

Tea DailyMail reported at the time she had suffered a fracture following a fall at home.

Coleen Rooney wears a walker boot as she arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice

(Getty Pictures)

Zoe Tidman10 May 2022 10:43

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Rooney and Vardy arrives

Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy have now both arrived in court.

Coleen Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice

(Getty Pictures)

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice

(Getty Pictures)

Zoe Tidman10 May 2022 10:32

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Trial waiting to kick off

The High Court is still waiting for the trial to kick off.

Goal Chiara Giordano reports counsel are now in the courtroom and boxes have arrived.

Zoe Tidman10 May 2022 10:15

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‘It’s…..Rebekah Vardy’s account’

And here is a reminder of the post that kicked it all off…

Zoe Tidman10 May 2022 09:52

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What are the stories in question?

Three “false” stories Coleen Rooney claims to have planted on her private Instagram account as part of a months-long “sting operation” are at the heart of her libel battle with Rebekah Vardy.

Here is a run through of what they are:

The gender selection article

Mrs Rooney claims to have posted the first of her “sting operation” posts about a so-called gender-selection treatment in spring 2019.

The post featured a photograph of the back seat of an airplane overlaid with the text “Let’s go and see what this gender selection is all about”, Mrs Rooney claims.

She alleges that the invented post was marked on Instagram as “seen” only by Mrs Vardy’s account, her lawyers have told the High Court.

In August that year, the Sun published an article claiming Mrs Rooney traveled to Mexico to look into the treatment.

The story, carrying journalist Andy Halls’s byline, is headlined “COL’S BABY GIRL BID Coleen Rooney traveled to Mexico to look into £8k ‘gender selection’ treatment in desperate bid to have baby girl”.

The article, referring to “a source” and “pals”, alleged Mrs Rooney is “so desperate for her fifth baby to be a girl” that she wants to hear more about a process “in which doctors examine embryos in a lab before implanting only those of the desired gender back into the womb”.

TV decisions article

A private “false” post about planning a return to TV is made in autumn 2019, Mrs Rooney claims.

She says it featured a “selfie” and the text “Up and out!! Easing my way back into work!! TV decisions today….maybe it’s time for Australia”.

Mrs Rooney’s lawyers claimed in her High Court defense that the post was only accessible by Mrs Vardy’s account.

Three days later, a Sun article under Michael Hamilton’s byline was published under the headline “ROO-MBA Coleen Rooney in talks to join Strictly next year as she looks to revive TV career when Wayne returns to UK”.

It quoted an anonymous source and claimed to exclusively reveal Mrs Rooney was “locked in talks with producers”, planned to “front a fashion programme” and “could well do” the Strictly Come Dancing TV show.

The flooded basement article

Mrs Rooney says she shared false information about her basement being flooded in autumn2 019, the third “sting operation” post.

Her lawyers have again alleged to the High Court that the post was only accessible to Mrs Vardy’s account.

On October 8, The Sun published a story, with Simon Boyle’s byline, headlined: “IN ROO-INS Wayne and Coleen Rooney’s £20m ‘Morrisons mansion’ flooded during Storm Lorenzo”.

The article, quoting a “source close to the couple”, claimed to reveal that bad weather had “wreaked havoc” at a Cheshire property, with Mrs Rooney being “called in to find the cellar had been flooded”.

Zoe Tidman10 May 2022 09:00

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Who is who?

And here is a look at who is who in the trial – including the pair’s footballer husbands:

Zoe Tidman10 May 2022 08:45

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Key points from High Court case up until now

Here is a reminder of what the High Court has heard in the run-up to today:

A missing phone

Rebekah Vardy’s agent’s phone “fell into the sea” after a court ordered it should be searched, Coleen Rooney’s barrister said:

unearthed posts

Messages between Rebekah Vardy and her agent Caroline Watt were revealed:

‘Unfit’ witness

A key witness – Ms Vardy’s agent again – was deemed “not fit” to give evidence in the trial starting today:

Claims over source

Ms Rooney’s barrister claimed to the High Court last month Ms Vardy “appears to accept” that her PR was the source of the leaked stories:

Zoe Tidman10 May 2022 08:26

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What has been happening over the legal case until now?

The trial is expected to last for six days.

It comes nearly two years after Rebekah Vardy launched libel proceedings over the claims.

While there have been hearings over the case since then, this is the first time it will go to trial.

Here is a timeline of events to run through before the trial kicks off today:

Zoe Tidman10 May 2022 08:10

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