Coleen Rooney Loses First Round of the ‘Wagatha Christie’ Case.
Coleen Rooney has lost the first round of her High Court battle against Rebekah Vardy over a dispute that has become known as the Wagatha Christie saga. The wife of Wayne Rooney, the former England football captain, deliberately identified her fellow “wag” — a term used for wives and girlfriends — as an alleged leaker in a social media post, a judge ruled today.
Today, the court ruled the 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.
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.’ 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.
Today’s ruling at the High Court 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.
Announcing his decision, the judge said that the meaning he had determined was “substantially the same as the claimant’s meaning”. In his ruling, Mr Justice Warby said Rooney’s message was “a considered post, using wording composed with some care”.
He added: “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.” He also rejected Rooney’s contention that she simply referred to Vardy’s Instagram account, rather than Vardy herself.
The judge ruled: “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 added: “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 ordered Rooney to pay Vardy just under £23,000 in costs for Thursday’s hearing.
At that hearing, Vardy’s barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC said Rooney’s posts were an “untrue and unjustified defamatory attack” which was “published and republished to millions of people”.
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