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Wagatha Christie trial: Dramatic start as Vardy regrets comparing Peter Andre to chipolata
10 May 2022, 10:44 | Updated: 10 May 2022, 20:33
Coleen Rooney 'revelled in' being dubbed 'Wagatha Christie', the court heard.
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Rebekah Vardy's barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC said that Mrs Rooney shared posts which likened her to legendary crime writer Agatha Christie proving she enjoyed the nickname.
But he cautioned that was where the link to pop culture ended and warned that Mrs Rooney had wrongly believed Mrs Vardy was like Bridgeton's Lady Whistledown and was writing The Sun's Secret Wag column.
Mr Tomlinson said: "In the unlikely event that there is a real secret Wag, it isn't Mrs Vardy."
During the hearing, Rebekah Vardy told the court: "I didn't give any information to a newspaper".
Coleen Rooney's barrister David Sherborne asked Rebekah Vardy questions about an interview she gave to the News Of The World about Mrs Vardy's claimed sexual encounter with singer Peter Andre.
Mr Sherborne showed what appeared to an A3 print out of the article to Mrs Vardy in the witness box before reading the headline: "Peter's hung like a small chipolata, shaved, slobbery, lasts five minutes".
Rebekah Vardy was asked whether it was "respectful" of Peter Andre's "right not to share this information" about their sexual encounter with a newspaper.
She replied: "I was forced into a situation by my ex-husband to do this. It is something that I deeply regret... It is not nice to read and I understand why this is being used and to me this is mudslinging and I was also threatened with mudslinging by Mrs Rooney's team."
Mrs Vardy and Mrs Rooney were pictured arriving separately at London's Royal Courts of Justice this morning.
Mrs Rooney, wearing a black suit and with her foot in a brace, was flanked by her husband former England star Wayne Rooney as she entered the court.
Mrs Vardy, wearing a long blue buttoned dress with a pair of sunglasses, arrived minutes later. The pair sat metres apart on the front bench of Court 13, staring straight ahead.
Mrs Rooney has claimed Mrs Vardy had shared fake stories she posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper, either directly or through her agent Caroline Watt "acting on her instruction or with her knowing approval".
Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie, denies the accusations and is suing Mrs Rooney for libel.
Mrs Vardy's barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC today introduced the case, describing it as an opportunity for his client to "vindicate" her reputation and saying she "had no choice" but to bring the libel claim.
He said the main defence would be truth because Mrs Rooney "does not even set out to prove the things she [has] said are true [that Vardy is behind the leaks.]"
Mr Tomlinson added that although Mrs Rooney's Instagram account was private, it had 300 followers which included businesses, meaning she could not have marshalled who was looking at her posts from these accounts.
In written submissions, Mr Tomlinson said: "The allegation in the post was and remains false: Mrs Vardy had not leaked information about Mrs Rooney or her friends and family to the Sun newspaper from her private Instagram account.
"Mrs Rooney did not have the 'irrefutable' evidence that she claimed to have had: her so-called 'careful investigation' was nothing of the sort. If anyone had been leaking information from Mrs Rooney's private Instagram this was not done with Mrs Vardy's knowledge or approval."
Mr Tomlinson said Mrs Rooney "chose instead to publicly reveal Mrs Vardy as the culprit in a dramatic post crafted in the style of a 'whodunnit'."
"Her reputation has been very seriously damaged by this false and defamatory allegation which was designed to achieve maximum impact and succeeded in its aim."
He claimed Mrs Vardy and her family were subjected to abuse and threats "as a result of the Post."
"She was jeered and heckled at football matches and was the butt of endless jokes and further accusations, but the allegation in the Post was and remains false: Mrs Vardy had not leaked information about Mrs Rooney or her friends and family to the Sun newspaper from her Private Instagram account."
Mr Tomlinson said his client knew Mrs Rooney was "posting fake stories" and that "she did not directly leak any information from Mrs Rooney's private Instagram account to The Sun, nor did she do so indirectly by 'approving or condoning' anyone else to do so on her behalf."
He added the WhatsApp messages between Mrs Vardy and her agent Ms Watt previously heard in court pertain only to leaking information to the press about one post made by Mrs Rooney - where journalists were already aware of the information.
"Furthermore, it is plain from the WhatsApp exchanges that Mrs Vardy was aware that Mrs Rooney was posting fake stories in order to see whether anyone would leak them, as well as the fact that she had previously been a suspect," he added.
Mrs Rooney's lawyer David Sherborne told the court his client had proved Mrs Vardy was behind the leaks "despite the deliberate destruction of evidence by the claimant and Ms Watt".
Ms Watt's phone allegedly fell into the sea after a boat she was on hit a wave only a short time after the court issued an order for the phone to be searched.
Mr Sherborne said: "It is clear, at least on the balance of probabilities, which is all that is necessary, that the leaks arose from the habitual and established practice of the claimant, leaking information about those she knew via Ms Watt to The Sun and others.
"This was a sustained betrayal of the defendant's trust."