UK court to rule on latest round of Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney libel case

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Uk Court To Rule On Latest Round Of Rebekah Vardy And Coleen Rooney Libel Case
Coleen Rooney, left, and Rebekah Vardy. Photo: PA
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By Jess Glass, PA

Rebekah Vardy is due to find out whether she has succeeded in a bid to have parts of Coleen Rooney’s defence in their libel battle thrown out by a UK High Court judge.

Mrs Rooney (35) accused Mrs Vardy (39) of leaking “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 publicly claimed her fellow footballer’s wife shared fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram account with the newspaper, earning her the nickname “Wagatha Christie”.

Rebekah Vardy is suing Coleen Rooney for libel. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the accusations and is suing Mrs Rooney for libel.

In the latest round of the case, Mrs Vardy’s lawyers asked the High Court to throw out parts of Mrs Rooney’s defence, including allegations of Mrs Vardy’s close relationship with The Sun and her alleged but denied authorship of “The Secret Wag” column.

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Mrs Justice Steyn will hand down her judgment at 10.30am on Wednesday.

At the hearing in June, Hugh Tomlinson QC argued these were “irrelevant or peripheral” to the case and that the central issue was whether Mrs Vardy was leaking posts from Mrs Rooney’s Instagram.

In his written submissions, Mr Tomlinson said most of the claims made by Mrs Rooney’s lawyers were in dispute and denied.

He continued: “Even if it were established that the claimant has ‘an exceptionally close relationship’ with The Sun, that it gave her positive coverage, that she has a history of self-promotion or is the ‘Secret Wag’, does not mean that it is more likely than not that the claimant had regularly informed The Sun about the defendant’s private posts.”

Coleen Rooney is fighting the libel case. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA

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

He 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.”

The move to throw out part of the defence was opposed by Mrs Rooney, with her barrister David Sherborne arguing that the “exceptionally close relationship” Mrs Vardy is said to have had with The Sun is a key part of the case.

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In written submissions, Mr Sherborne said Mrs Vardy had a “habitual practice” of providing private information to the press to promote or financially exploit 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.

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He also said that the evidence showed Mrs Vardy was in a “very uneasy position” and said the request to throw it out was a tactical move as it would “undermine her case as well as embarrass her”.

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

She also applied 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.

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