Coleen's narrow victory over Rebekah Vardy in Wagatha Christie battle

Coleen Rooney’s team claim ‘2-1 victory’ in latest stage of ‘Wagatha Christie’ court battle as judge rules ‘The Secret Wag’ column IS relevant but dismisses claim Rebekah Vardy was attention seeking by sitting behind her at Euros match

  • Rebekah Vardy is suing Coleen Rooney for accusing her of leaking stories 
  • WAGs entered a legal war after Coleen accused her rival of raiding Insta account 
  • Mrs Rooney outed her in notorious Insta post – but Mrs Vardy says it is false and libellous to accuse her of leaking 
  • Counsel for Coleen rival sold stories for financial gain and positive coverage 

Coleen Rooney’s team today claimed a ‘2-1 victory in the semi final’ as a judge ruled largely in her favour in the latest stage of her Wagatha Christie legal battle against Rebekah Vardy.

Mrs Justice Steyn rejected Rebekah’s lawyers’ bid at the High Court to issue a summary judgement on one part of Coleen’s defence to the long-running £1million libel suit against her.

Although the judge did agree to strike out some sections of the Rooney defence – including a claim Mrs Vardy stole a seat behind Mrs Rooney at Euro 2016 to boost her profile – it left the majority of her case intact, and will only result in two paragraphs being removed, rather than the 12 demanded by Rebekah’s lawyers.

Crucially, an application to strike out Coleen’s ‘public interest’ defence was also rejected.

As England face Denmark at Wembley tonight, a source close to Coleen declared: ‘This is the equivalent of a 2-1 win in the semi finals without the agony of extra time or a penalty shoot-out.’


Coleen Rooney’s team today claimed a ‘2-1 victory in the semi final’ as a judge ruled largely in her favour in the latest stage of her Wagatha Christie legal battle against Rebekah Vardy.

The judge did agree to strike out some sections of the Rooney defence – including a claim Mrs Vardy stole a seat behind Mrs Rooney at Euro 2016 in Lens, France, to boost her profile (pictured)

Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne argued that the ‘exceptionally close relationship’ Mrs Vardy is said to have had with The Sun is a key part of the case.

In written submissions, Mr Sherborne said Mrs Vardy had a ‘habitual practice’ of providing private information to the press to promote her profile.

He said: ‘The timing of positive coverage of the claimant in The Sun was strikingly close to the publication of other articles … that were leaked from the defendant’s private Instagram.

‘This supports the inference that the claimant was benefiting from the leak of private information about the defendant to the newspaper.’

Mr Sherborne added that that Mrs Vardy used her close relationship with The Sun or its journalists ‘for the purposes of promoting or financially exploiting her public profile’.

The barrister later claimed that Mrs Vardy would receive a split of commission and revenue for stories given to The Sun through the Front Row Partnership, a PR agency where Mrs Vardy was a client.

Mrs Vardy has denied any knowledge or authorisation of passing on private information.

The long-running feud between the high-profile WAGS erupted after Coleen revealed that she had set a trap to see who was responsible for the leaks, which earned her the nickname Wagatha Christie.

Coleen famously wrote: ‘I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.’

Soon after, Rebekah took to social media to deny being the person who had leaked the stories to the press, after Coleen’s post went viral

Rebekah’s team launched a bid last month to have large parts of Coleen’s defence in the ongoing libel case struck out.

Rebekah’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC told Mrs Justice Steyn: ‘The purpose of this application is to clear away a mass of irrelevant and peripheral material in order to save time and costs and focus on the main issues in the case.’

But Rebekah’s move was branded a ‘tactical exercise’ to avoid having to disclose matters which will prove Coleen’s case is correct, according to her own lawyer David Sherborne.

Coleen’s team told the court that the sections which Rebekah was seeking to remove are ‘plainly relevant and proportionate’ and the argument that leaving them in will substantially increase the costs of the trial is ‘seriously overstated and bears no real scrutiny’.

They added: ‘Another factor that should be borne in mind is that the Claimant [Rebekah] is seeking to remove what are, no doubt, paragraphs that [she] finds uncomfortable and embarrassing. ‘

The key issue in Rebekah’s pre-trial application to the court concerned the so-called ‘TV decisions post’ which Coleen put out on Instagram and claims she blocked all her other followers apart from Rebekah from viewing.

In the post, Coleen posted a selfie with text reading ‘easing my way back into work!! TV decisions today’ in September 2019.

A story reporting her desire to revive her TV career appeared on The Sun’s website three days later, Mrs Rooney claims.

However, Mrs Rooney said she ‘invented’ the story as part of her investigation to discover the source of the leaks and had no intention of entering into more television work.

But the judge rejected the application for summary judgement, saying: ‘It is one of many factual issues to be resolved at trial in determining whether the truth defence is made out. It seems highly unlikely that resolution of this issue would assist the parties to settle the claim.’

She added: ‘While there is some force in the claimant’s submission that there are significant differences between the TV Decisions Articles and the Post from which they are alleged to derive, the question whether the claimant disclosed the TV Decisions Post to The Sun is one that can only properly be answered having regard to all the evidence at trial. ‘

Coleen’s solicitors, Brabners, put out an immediate statement headed: ‘Rebekah Vardy’s summary judgment application fails’

They added: ‘Rebekah Vardy’s application for summary judgment was dismissed by Mrs Justice Steyn DBE in a judgment handed down this morning in the ongoing Vardy v Rooney libel litigation.

‘The court also refused Mrs Vardy’s application to strike out Mrs Rooney’s public interest defence.

‘In the same application, Mrs Vardy had also sought to limit what documents and information she will be required to disclose by applying to strike out twelve paragraphs of Mrs Rooney’s defence.

Mrs Rooney 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’ – in a notorious post that sparked the Wagatha Christie libel battle

‘Wagatha Christie’ trial could cost £1million

The Wagatha Christie libel trial could last nearly two weeks and cost almost £1m, the High Court heard.

Dashing any hopes of a last-minute settlement between the warring Wags, Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Rebekah Vardy in her £1.5m lawsuit against Coleen Rooney, said: ‘There can be no doubt that it will go to trial.’

He said that his own side’s costs alone for a nine-day trial would be £475,000.

Mr Tomlinson, who has launched an application to have large sections of Coleen’s defence ‘struck out’ from the case, said it could almost slash the trial costs in half.

He said ‘assuming a five-day trial with the material taken out, we estimate our costs at £273,000. I’m not suggesting these figures are set in stone, they are provided in good faith.’

Mr Tomlinson said sections of the defence around Mrs Vardy’s relationship with The Sun newspaper, including her alleged but denied authorship of ‘The Secret Wag’ column, are not relevant to the trial.

‘Much of it is so far away from the issues as to be patently irrelevant,’ he told the court.

Referring to one part of Mrs Rooney’s defence, he added: ‘There was almost nothing about leaking private information about anyone to the press, let alone the defendant’s family and friends.’

Mr Tomlinson highlighted that both women have a public profile and their own relationships with the media.

Mr Tomlinson, referring to sections of Coleen’s defence which allege that Rebekah was a ‘close friend’ of Sun journalist Simon Boyle, said: ‘What has happened in this case is that the defendant has gone through the claimant’s appearances in the newspapers, put two and two together and made seven.’

‘It’s effectively saying that ‘she’s had an interview with Simon Boyle, so he’s a close friend of yours’.

‘The court rejected those applications by Mrs Vardy, with the exception of two paragraphs and parts of another one relating to allegations of Ms Vardy’s self-promotion in the press.

‘A key part of the defence that Mrs Vardy failed to strike out is Mrs Rooney’s allegation that Ms Vardy was a primary source for the ‘Secret Wag’ column in The Sun.’

‘The high-profile libel claim brought by Ms Vardy is over a post on social media that alleged she had secretly informed The Sun newspaper of Ms Rooney’s private posts and stories from Instagram.’

She said: ‘The claimant’s engagement on social media with these journalists is relevant in considering the defendant’s case that she had an exceptionally close relationship with them, which I have accepted is one of the building blocks on which the defendant seeks to build her defence of truth.’    

Mrs Justice Steyn threw out parts of Mrs Rooney’s defence but kept some aspects that Mrs Vardy had applied to strike out.

The judge dismissed a claim by Mrs Rooney that her fellow footballer’s wife showed ‘publicity-seeking behaviour’ when sitting behind Mrs Rooney in someone else’s seat at the 2016 Euros.

Mrs Justice Steyn found that even assuming the allegation was true, it would still not help Mrs Rooney’s case.

She said: ‘The fact that a person seeks media coverage of their own attendance at a football match does not make it more probable that they would disclose private information about another person to the press.’

The judge said the argument was irrelevant, adding ‘it would be a waste of time and resources’ for the claim to continue.

Mrs Justice Steyn also threw out an allegation that Mrs Vardy was leaking about the libel case itself to The Sun.

She said: ‘While this is an allegation of leaking confidential information to The Sun, the nature of it is very different to what was alleged in the post.

‘Notably, the defendant has pleaded it in support of the contention that there is a close relationship between the claimant and The Sun, rather than as an instance of the claimant disclosing another person’s private information.’

The judge further dismissed part of Mrs Rooney’s defence about how Mrs Vardy had written a statement for the press regulator IPSO after a complaint was made about The Sun. 

She later dismissed Mrs Vardy’s bid for summary judgment – a legal step which would see that part of the case resolved without a trial – in relation to Mrs Rooney’s claim that Mrs Vardy leaked a story to The Sun about her returning to TV presenting.


Rebekah Vardy claims allegations by Coleen Rooney caused turmoil for her and her children, who she claims have been abused in the playground. Mrs Rooney didn’t even tell her husband Wayne (pictured together right) she carrying out the Wagatha Christie sting, the court heard

She concluded: ‘It is one of many factual issues to be resolved at trial in determining whether the truth defence is made out.

‘It seems highly unlikely that resolution of this issue would assist the parties to settle the claim.’

Rebekah Vardy has succeeded in having parts of Coleen Rooney’s defence in their libel battle thrown out by a High Court judge.

Mrs Justice Steyn dismissed a claim by Mrs Rooney that her fellow footballer’s wife showed ‘publicity seeking behaviour’ when sitting behind Mrs Rooney in someone else’s seat at the 2016 Euros.

Mrs Justice Steyn found that even assuming the allegation was true, it would still not help Mrs Rooney’s case.

She said: ‘The fact that a person seeks media coverage of their own attendance at a football match does not make it more probable that they would disclose private information about another person to the press.’

However, Mrs Justice Steyn ruled against Mrs Vardy on other parts of Mrs Rooney’s defence and denied her bid for summary judgment – a legal step which would see that part of the case resolved without a trial – concerning Mrs Rooney’s claim that Mrs Vardy leaked a story to The Sun about her returning to TV presenting.

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