Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy ‘will hold head-to-head peace talks via Zoom in last-ditch attempt to stop Wagatha Christie libel trial in court’
- Mediator is understood to be set to moderate the talks via video call in lockdown
- Mrs Rooney accused Mrs Vardy of giving the press ‘false stories’ about her life
- Carried out months-long ‘sting operation’, seeing her called ‘Wagatha Christie’
- In bid to avoid bitter court battle, 2 sides set to virtually meet to settle dispute
Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy will hold head-to-head peace talks over Zoom to try to avoid a ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial in court, reports suggest.
A mediator will moderate the video call conversation, it is understood, as England’s third national lockdown means they cannot meet in person.
Mrs Rooney accused Mrs Vardy of gyiving the press ‘false stories’ about her private life in October 2019 after carrying out a months-long ‘sting operation’ which saw her dubbed ‘Wagatha Christie’.
The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney claimed fellow footballer’s wife Mrs Vardy shared fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.
Mrs Rooney infamously wrote on Instagram and Twitter: ‘I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.’
Coleen Rooney (left) and Rebekah Vardy (right) will hold head-to-head peace talks over Zoom to try to avoid a ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel trial, reports suggest
Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the accusations and is suing Mrs Rooney for damages for libel at the High Court in London.
But, in a bid to avoid a bitter court battle, the two sides are set to virtually meet to settle the dispute amicably, The Sun reports.
Sources have told the paper the talks are unlikely to be successful, with Mrs Rooney ‘determined to see this through to the bitter end’ and Mrs Vardy desperate to prove her innocence.
The source said: ‘At the moment they’re digging in. It’ll take something seismic for this to come to an end without it needing to go to court.’
Earlier this month, court papers claimed that Mrs Rooney had help from ‘third parties’ to draft her ‘Wagatha Christie’ statement.
Mrs Rooney infamously wrote on Instagram and Twitter: ‘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 Vardy (top) and Coleen Rooney watch England v Wales during Euro 2016 at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, France
Mrs Vardy’s lawyers allege that a team of people – including solicitors – read over Mrs Rooney’s statement before it was published on her social media accounts.
Should accusations that it was ‘prepared in advance’ with help from others be proved true, questions will be asked about whether Mrs Rooney’s five-month investigation into the leaks was thorough enough.
Lawyers claim Mrs Rooney didn’t properly look into whether the leaked information could have come from her or her husband’s team of staff – and not Mrs Vardy.
Mrs Vardy’s lawyers say the simultaneously-timed posts – on Mrs Rooney’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts – sought ‘maximum publicity for the defendant’s message’.
The documents, seen by The Sun, read: ‘The post… appears to have been prepared in advance.
‘It is inferred that the defendant had already reached a (false) conclusion to responsibility on a flawed “investigation” and rushed to publication without properly considering the evidence or making any further inquiry.’
Rebekah Vardy is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, pictured together at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2017
Mrs Vardy’s legal team have now requested to know when the post was written and who knew what information at what stage.
A spokesperson for Mrs Rooney thinks the libel case will be defended successfully.
In November, the High Court ruled Mrs Rooney’s post ‘clearly identified’ Mrs Vardy as being ‘guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust’ – but minutes later Mrs Rooney hit back with a statement via her spokesman, saying she was ‘keen’ to hear what Mrs Vardy has to say in court.
The ruling related to the wording in the final sentence of the post, with Mrs Rooney claiming she simply referred to Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account rather than Mrs Vardy herself.
But the judge said an ordinary reader would not take the word ‘account’ to ‘indicate that Mrs Rooney remains in doubt about who the wrongdoer was’.
He also disagreed with Mrs Rooney’s claim that using multiple ellipses in the final line diluted the meaning.
Coleen Rooney is married to Derby County footballer Wayne Rooney, pictured while he was at Manchester United in 2016
This means the court has no doubt as to who the accusation was made against – Mrs Vardy – which will be a consideration if the libel case goes to trial this year.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Warby said Mrs Rooney’s message was ‘a considered post, using wording composed with some care’, adding: ‘It would be clear to the ordinary reader from the outset that it was meant seriously and intended to convey a message of some importance.’
The judge disagreed with Mrs Rooney’s claim that using multiple ellipses in the infamous final line of the post – ‘It’s…………….Rebekah Vardy’s account’ – diluted the meaning.
He wrote: ‘Indeed, the element of suspense introduced by the multiple dots seems to me designed to raise expectations of a dramatic revelation.
‘It tends to emphasise the importance of the name that is then provided. It would be a poor denouement if all that was being said was that the named individual was to be suspected of the wrongdoing but it might be someone else.’
He also rejected Mrs Rooney’s contention that she simply referred to Mrs Vardy’s Instagram account rather than Mrs Vardy herself.
The judge ruled: ‘The reader is told straight away that the message is about bad behaviour by ‘someone who I trusted’. The post then takes the form of a ‘whodunnit’.’
He added: ‘I certainly do not think that the ordinary reader would take that single word (account), albeit repeated, to indicate that Mrs Rooney remains in doubt about who the wrongdoer was.’
He later said: ‘There is nothing in these words, apart from the word ‘account’, that in any way suggests that the behaviour of which Mrs Rooney is complaining might have been carried out by anyone other than the account holder, Mrs Vardy.’
Mr Justice Warby also ordered Mrs Rooney to pay Mrs Vardy just under £23,000 in costs for the November hearing.
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