Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney’s High Court libel battle will draw to a close as lawyers for each of the women set out each of their cases.
In a viral social media post in October 2019, Mrs Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a “sting operation” and accused Mrs Vardy, 40, of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press.
The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney was dubbed “Wagatha Christie” when she publicly claimed an account behind three fake stories she had posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper was Mrs Vardy’s.
Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, denies leaking stories to the media and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel, while Mrs Rooney is defending the claim on the basis her post was “substantially true”.
Over six days in courtroom number 13 at the Royal Courts of Justice, the pair have each given evidence, as has Mrs Rooney’s husband Wayne Rooney, also 36, who played for Everton and Manchester United and now manages Derby.
Outlining Mrs Vardy’s case on Tuesday May 10, her barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC told the court she had “no choice” but to bring the legal action against Mrs Rooney so she could clear her name and “establish her innocence and vindicate her reputation”.
David Sherborne, representing Mrs Rooney, told Mrs Justice Steyn, the judge hearing the trial, the case is essentially a “detective story” and “like any good detective story, you never find a person standing over the body with a smoking gun”.
He said there was “inference”, saying: “You do not have to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt, you just have to conclude that it is more likely than not that Mrs Vardy was responsible, either directly or through Ms (Caroline – Mrs Vardy’s friend and agent) Watt.”
Both footballers’ wives have been seated just feet apart in court, in front of their barristers, for each day of the hearing so far.
On Thursday, their lawyers will summarise the case in closing speeches, following which the judge will reserve her ruling on the case to a later date.
Mrs Rooney is defending the claim on the basis of truth and public interest.
The fake stories Mrs Rooney planted on her Instagram during the sting operation featured her travelling to Mexico for a “gender selection” procedure, her planning to return to TV and the basement flooding at her home.
In a now infamous post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, she 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.”