Red cards, tears and fouls galore… so who was my winner in Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney’s £3m libel trial? JANE FRYER is on Wagatha Christie watch as their High Court battle concludes
After an estimated £3million in legal fees, tens of thousands of pounds worth of designer finery, a lot of tears (sorry Rebekah), some appalling language, a nation divided into #teamrooney and #teamvardy and a truly astonishing insight into the mad, bad, wonderful world of Wags, here we are in the final moments of the great Wagatha Christie trial.
And my goodness have we learned a lot.
That Rebekah Vardy is tough as old boots, but can still be reduced to tears (again and again). That Wayne badly needs to go up a clothes size. That poor Peter Andre has every reason to feel a bit miffed right now. Oh yes, and that arguing with Coleen is like arguing with a pigeon, because ‘you’ll always get s*** in your hair’.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that the barristers’ final submissions are a bit of an anti-climax. For starters, the Rooneys have gone – thousands of miles away on holiday, naturally. (Coleen’s no doubt trying to slough off the grub of the Royal Courts of Justice in the Caribbean Sea as we speak.)
Jamie’s not here either (shock). Which leaves just Rebekah to add a pop of colour to the front bench in her green top.
Behind her, Hugh Tomlinson QC looks tired and crumpled while mahogany David Dickinson (sorry, Sherborne) bounces up and down like a schoolboy at prize-giving, poised for the glory moment.
But sadly, he’ll have to wait. There’ll be no judgment today, or any day soon. Which is a shame but, after all this Wagtastic folly, you can hardly blame Mrs Justice Steyn for needing a gentle lie-down for a week or ten in a darkened room.
Of course, it could be that she’s taking her time and being particularly thorough to ensure that this case can never, ever boomerang back to the Court on appeal.
Either way, she’s not playing ball; her judgment is reserved and so, as the final whistle blows and the teams retreat for their post-match debrief in their aromatherapy spa baths, here is my final commentary on the winners (no one), losers (everyone but the lawyers), red cards, fouls and goals in the inaugural World Cup of Wags.
Arriving yesterday at the Royal Courts of Justice, Rebekah Vardy wore a black suit with a green top at the final day of her high-profile libel trial battle against fellow WAG Coleen Rooney
While Coleen can somehow make an air-cast boot look stylish, complemented by a single Gucci loafer on the other tiny foot and that trusty £3,000 cross-body Chanel, when it comes to classic Wag style, Rebekah left the more experienced player in the dust.
That amazing Alessandra Rich, £2,095 lemon-meringue suit! The countless bags, the towering heels. The tropical tan, the fantastic bosom. The designer glasses aplenty and the ever-changing hairdos.
Sorry, Coleen, you’re very pretty, much smaller than we expected and have superlative cheekbones, but who wants to see a high street suit when they’re watching a Championship battle of the Wags?
Or, heaven forbid, an 87 per cent viscose frock that costs £32.99 from Zara. Not me.
Score: Rooney 2 – Vardy 5
A tale of two (other) halves
A tricky one, this. Who’s best, Jamie or Wayne? Granted, Wayne sat there, stolid and steadfast, through what felt like a 1,000-hour Wagathon, with neither substitution nor injury time. He didn’t even dart off for an emergency loo break.
But then – shock horror – it emerged that pretty much every detail of this farce was brand new to him.
We learned he had no prior knowledge of the big reveal planned by his wife of 14 years. No idea of the extent of her brilliance or the Poirot-style sting she was planning. Barely any idea, even, who Wagatha Christie was! Because despite the headlines, ballooning legal bills and a partner who was clearly suffering, so wrapped up was he in his own life that he hadn’t bothered to ask.
Jamie, meanwhile, didn’t even show up until day six and, even then, stormed out in a strop before end of play.
But despite all that, he and Bex seemed more than a team. Nay, they were one and the same: cemented together, arms entwined throughout the hearing, forever nudging, elbowing and whispering in one another’s eager ears.
They clearly discuss everything – and I mean everything. From Danny Drinkwater’s drink-driving issues to which Premier star was doing the dirty.
We heard the couple spent so much time FaceTiming during the 2016 Euros that it seemed Rebekah was practically part of the team. As Jamie himself confirmed this week, ‘I discuss everything with Becky.’
Score: Rooney 2 – Vardy 4
It was a dirty match and there were a lot of yellows. Most belong to Rebekah for her endless foul-languaged exchanges with her former PR manager, Caroline Watt, in which she calls Coleen a wide variety of unattractive four- and five-letter words, none of which we can print here.
Score: Rooney 0 – Vardy 8
Skills in the box
The unexpected man of the match must surely lie with Wayne’s promotion off the bench to make his evidential debut.
He’s always been good in the box but, bloody hell, wasn’t he just brilliant? With his clear, scouse tenor and surprising grace and elegance. Magnificent. A natural – pulling something out of the bag that will have pundits talking for years.
Coleen gets a highly commended for her sure-footed handing of Tomlinson’s forensic cross-examination.
And perhaps the less said about Rebekah’s performance, the better.
Score: Rooney 5 – Vardy 1
Just for a minute, let’s put aside David Sherborne’s ridiculous tan, bouffant hair and deep fondness for himself. Because the Barrister to the Stars has played a total blinder in defence. Rock solid, stylish, resolute – he never once dropped his guard.
Score: Rooney 5 – Vardy 0
Pictured leaving the High Court at the end of the final day of the Wagatha Christie trial, Rebekah looked downtrodden as she held a tissue in the car on her way home
Interaction with the crowd
Wayne also takes this one with ease. For all his catatonia while court was in session, during the breaks he was variously holding open doors, signing autographs and posing for selfies like the true record goal-scoring star he is.
Jamie, meanwhile, barks ‘not in court’ when asked for his autograph.
Score: Rooney 5 – Vardy 0
Bex had this one covered, perhaps even setting the world record for the number of own goals ever scored at one tournament. Of course, there were the vile WhatsApp messages that lurched up from the past to reveal her inner workings. But most of all, how could we forget that, when all is said and done, she was the one who started this fight and, surely against all advice, refused and refused and refused to back down.
Score: Rooney 0 – Vardy 12
One for each Vardy. For Becky for bringing the proportions of Peter Andre’s pocket rocket on to the pitch and into our minds so that never again will any of us enjoy a chipolata sausage. For Jamie for releasing that bizarre ‘Rooney’s confused’ statement outside court on day six. He’d had months to formulate a response to Wayne’s recollection of that awkward ‘calm your wife down’ conversation of the 2016 Euros.
He could have submitted a witness statement. He could have given evidence under oath. But no, instead he went for the sly tackle and it wasn’t nice. No wonder Wayne branded him a ‘bottler’.
Score: Rooney 0 – Vardy 2
Wag of the match
Despite lagging behind in the best kit category, Coleen still lifts the prized silverware for most effective Wag.
For her calm, her strength, her seamless and serene handling of questioning, and her quiet dignity when discussing each and every ugly bump in the world’s bumpiest of marriages.
But most of all, for the vision, skill and ingenuity of her months-long ‘Scousetrap’, followed by her extraordinary October 2019 big reveal with that grand flourish: ‘It’s… Rebekah Vardy’s account.’
And as that’s where this sorry tale began, it’s also perhaps the place to finally bow out.
So long, teary Becky and surprisingly handsome Jamie; farewell stolid, solid Wayne and constant Queen Coleen. So long the Trial of the Century – and thanks for all the Wags.
Wayne and Coleen Rooney arrive at Manchester Airport on Thursday morning as they headed out to Dubai with their children and her parents for a holiday
Dramatic final day in London’s High Court as a weeping Rebekah Vardy is accused of ‘lying under oath’ by Coleen Rooney’s lawyer as their £3m Wagatha Christie libel trial comes to a close
By Vanessa Allen
Rebekah Vardy was eviscerated in court yesterday as she was accused of lying under oath by Coleen Rooney’s lawyer.
The court also heard that Mrs Vardy ‘simply cannot be trusted’ and that her libel case had ‘totally disintegrated’.
In a dramatic end to the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial, Mrs Vardy, 40, left the court in a flood of tears as her barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, claimed she had suffered ‘very serious harm to her reputation and huge distress and upset’.
He said his client had been subjected to ‘public abuse and ridicule on a massive scale’ and was entitled to substantial damages. Mr Tomlinson added that Mrs Rooney had been ‘unreasonable’ when she sent out a tweet blaming Mrs Vardy for leaking private information.
However, lawyers for Mrs Rooney, 36, said the 2019 tweet was ‘substantially true’ and Mrs Vardy’s case had ‘totally disintegrated’.
Becky Vardy looked downcast as she left the High Courts on Thursday at the finish of the libel case she brought against Coleen Rooney
David Sherborne, for Mrs Rooney, said Mrs Vardy had abused his client’s trust by allegedly sharing stories with The Sun newspaper. Mrs Vardy then attempted to cover her tracks by deleting ‘incriminating’ WhatsApp messages between her and her agent Caroline Watt in which they discussed leaking stories, he told the court.
Mr Sherborne said: ‘There is only one conclusion and that is that Mrs Vardy deleted the WhatsApp chat and it was a deliberate lie to cover up her wrongdoing.
‘The only conclusion the court can reach is that she deleted the WhatsApp chat and then lied under oath about it.’
He also said Mrs Vardy’s evidence in court was ‘highly unreliable’ and she ‘simply cannot be trusted’ as she had repeatedly changed her version of events.
He added: ‘These are the hallmarks of a witness whose evidence is ill-considered and lacking in candour.’
The warring Wags will have to wait for trial judge Mrs Justice Steyn to decide which of them is right when she delivers her judgment, expected later this year.
The trial at the High Court in London has cost up to £3million in legal fees, meaning the loser will face an enormous legal bill.
Mrs Rooney did not attend the final day of the hearing, instead jetting off on holiday with husband Wayne and their children.
Mrs Vardy attended court alone as her husband Jamie was playing for Leicester City against Chelsea last night.
Mr Sherborne’s punchy closing statement criticised Mrs Vardy’s explanation for the alleged missing messages between her and her agent. Mrs Vardy’s claim that the WhatsApps were lost during a data transfer was ‘impossible’, he said.
And Mrs Watt’s iPhone being accidentally dropped into the North Sea was ‘fishy’, he added. The agent was expected to give evidence at the trial but withdrew after she was deemed medically unfit to be called as a witness.
The court heard she was receiving psychiatric care. Mr Sherborne said she was one of a series of ‘missing witnesses’, including several Sun journalists. He said the case had been left ‘like Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark’. He also criticised Vardy who did not give evidence but issued a press statement through his wife’s publicist in which he accused Rooney, 36, the Derby County manager, of ‘talking nonsense’.
The Leicester City footballer, 35, disputed Rooney’s account of an ‘awkward’ chat in which the then England captain asked Vardy to tell his wife to ‘calm down’ during Euro 2016 because she was distracting the players. Mr Sherborne said: ‘Despite Mr Vardy not providing witness evidence to the court, he was willing to make a statement outside.’
Finishing his speech, he said: ‘Mrs Vardy knew perfectly well what Caroline Watt had been doing and she approved it. Mrs Rooney was right in what she said in her reveal post, and she still is.’
Coleen pictured getting the family’s luggage together ready for their post-Wagatha Christie libel trial holiday to Dubai
Mrs Rooney was dubbed Wagatha Christie after she launched a sting operation to catch the culprit allegedly leaking her private information. She blocked all her followers except Mrs Vardy on her private Instagram and posted fake stories.
Mr Tomlinson, for Mrs Vardy, said Mrs Rooney had ‘failed to produce any evidence’ that his client had passed her private information to The Sun. He told the court Mrs Vardy had now reluctantly accepted that her former agent and friend Miss Watt may have been involved in the leaks.
But he said the WhatsApp messages between the pair, which formed a central part of Mrs Rooney’s case, were just ‘gossip’ between friends and not evidence of a plot to leak stories.
He said: ‘Mrs Vardy’s case is and always has been that she did not leak the information, nor did she authorise anyone else to leak.’ Mr Tomlinson said Mrs Rooney’s reveal tweet had prompted a torrent of abuse against Mrs Vardy, including death threats against her and her children. She launched libel proceedings as a ‘last resort’, adding: ‘All she wants is to be vindicated that she was not the person who leaked Mrs Rooney’s private information to The Sun.’
Mr Tomlinson said the case had created ‘entertainment’ for some but was ‘extremely upsetting’ for Mrs Vardy and her family.
And he said Vardy had not given evidence because it was not relevant to the case.
Earlier, Mrs Vardy denounced an article which said she and her husband were planning to ‘flee’ to the US as ‘cruel’. A spokesman said the article in The Sun was ‘categorically untrue’.
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