The "Wagatha Christie" libel trial has been a showdown between two footballer’s wives. On day six, it was the turn of the footballers themselves.
Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy, former England teammates, came face-to-face in the High Court for the first time since the case began, as the evidence turned to the team’s Euro 2016 performance.
Mr Rooney told the court that he had been tasked by the England manager, Roy Hodgson, with the “awkward” job of telling Mr Vardy that his wife, Rebekah, was causing “problems and distractions” for the England team due to her love of the limelight.
Mr Vardy’s representatives issued a statement which said no such conversation had taken place. It read: “Wayne is talking nonsense.”
England gave a lacklustre performance during the 2016 tournament, which saw them knocked out by Iceland.
Off the pitch, Mrs Vardy’s enthusiasm for appearing in the tabloids, including her own column in The Sun, had been noted.
Mr Rooney said his instructions came from Hodgson and Gary Neville, England’s assistant manager.
“They asked me as captain if I would be able to speak to Mr Vardy on issues regarding his wife. I think we all knew it was an awkward subject,” Mr Rooney told the court.
“I spoke to Mr Vardy and asked him to speak to his wife, to ask his wife to calm down and not bring any issues that were off the field.”
He added: “It was an awkward situation for me. I’m sure it was an awkward situation for Mr Vardy.”
Mr Rooney also told the court that Mrs Vardy FaceTimed her husband so often during the tournament that she “was almost there with the team”.
The FA wanted wives and girlfriends to keep a low profile and avoid the hoopla of the 2006 World Cup, where the “WAGs” created a media circus in Baden-Baden.
“Becky’s media activities were causing problems and distractions which the FA wanted to avoid,” Mr Rooney said in his witness statement. “I obviously had bigger things to focus upon at the time but I agreed to speak to Jamie because it was easier than pushing back against the FA.”
Mr Rooney was challenged by Mrs Vardy’s barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, who suggested that the conversation with his team-mate had never taken place.
“Ask his wife to calm down? She wasn’t dancing on tables,” Mr Tomlinson said.
“No, she wasn’t - as far as I’m aware,” Mr Rooney replied.
But Mr Rooney, now manager of Derby County, insisted: “I’m sat here under oath. I 100 per cent spoke to Mr Vardy. If he wants to speak to his wife and relay it back to her, that’s his business.
“I remember the conversation I had with Jamie. We were sat in a games room - it was set up for the players with a dartboard, pool table, table tennis. Mr Vardy had a can of Red Bull; I had a coffee. I remember details of that conversation because it was such an awkward moment."
'I discuss everything with Becky'
Mr Vardy, attending court with his wife for the first time during the case, suggested in his statement that Mr Rooney had misremembered the Euro 2016 meeting. It read: “Wayne is talking nonsense.
“He must be confused because he never spoke to me about issues concerning Becky’s media work at Euro 2016. There was nothing to speak about, I know this because I discuss everything with Becky.”
Mr Vardy held his wife’s hand as he walked into court. Mr Rooney held his wife’s handbag.
The warring parties sat feet apart on the same bench in Court 13, separated by Mrs Vardy’s solicitor. The two men exchanged the briefest of nods when they walked into the room before Mr Rooney began his evidence. Mrs Rooney frequently shot dark looks in Mrs Vardy’s direction.
Mr Rooney said his wife conducted her ‘Wagatha Christie’ investigation - posting fake Instagram stories which only Mrs Vardy could see - without his knowledge.
He also claimed to have known almost no details about the case until he turned up in court last week.
'My wife is an independent woman who does her own thing'
“I didn’t want to get involved. My wife is an independent woman who does her own thing. I help my wife with our four children. Social media is the least of my worries,” Mr Rooney said.
He was in the US and his wife was in England when he saw her 2019 Instagram post, which alleged that Rebekah Vardy’s account was responsible for the tabloid leaks.
“That was the first knowledge I had of that. It was a surprise to me that my wife had put the post out,” he said.
“Me sitting in this courtroom this week is the first time I’m hearing almost everything in this case. I have never discussed it with my wife.”
Mr Rooney said the case had taken its toll on his wife.
“I don’t think anyone wants to be in court. Certainly, me and my wife don’t want to be in court,” he said.
“I have watched my wife over the past two-and-a-half years really struggle with what’s gone on. She has become a different mother, a different wife. It has been very traumatic for my wife during this situation.
“Hopefully, whatever the judgement is, my wife, myself and our children can go on and live our lives.”
The case continues.
That's all for today
Court proceedings have now finished for the day, and all witnesses have finished giving evidence.
There will be a break in proceedings tomorrow, and we will continue bringing you live updates from 10:30am on Thursday as the trial draws to a close.
Vardy was using ‘slow’ internet when she exported data, lawyer says
Mrs Vardy’s lawyer is questioning data expert Matthew Blackband, who suggested the cause of Mrs Vardy’s “missing" WhatsApp data was “manual deletion".
The lawyer says that Mrs Vardy was using a “slow” internet connection when she attempted to export her data.
She says that Mrs Vardy says she was able to successfully export the text files from her WhatsApp conversation with Caroline Watt, but “when she tried to upload the media her computer totally crashed”.
“It is possible that the data could have been lost in that process,” the lawyer says.
“I can not see how that’s possible”, Mr Blackband responds.
Data expert suggests cause of missing data was ‘manual deletion’
Ian Henderson has finished giving evidence.
Matthew Blackband, a data expert, is now being questioned by Mrs Rooney’s lawyer.
When asked by David Sherborne what the “most likely explanation” could be for the loss or deletion of messages sent between Rebekah Vardy and Caroline Watt from 15 October 2019 and 25 July 2020, he replies: “I would suggest it’s a manual deletion”.
Rebekah and Jamie Vardy leave court early as she isn't 'feeling very well'
Rebekah Vardy and her husband Jamie did not return to court after a short break in the afternoon proceedings.
A member of her legal team told the court that Mrs Vardy "wasn't feeling very well".
Expert witness acknowledges messages missing from Vardy’s data
Next up in the witness box is Ian Henderson, who is providing evidence for Mrs Vardy.
In response to a question from David Sherborne, Mr Henderson confirms he is aware that some of the messages exchanged between Rebekah Vardy and Caroline Watt are absent from the data provided.
Witness says she ‘had to do the right thing’ by coming forward
Asked by Mrs Rooney’s lawyer why she chose to gave evidence today, Ms Adaarewa says: “I had to do the right thing”.
“I just thought it was wrong,” she adds, referring to comments she claims were made by a Splash News photographer about Mrs Vardy.
She has now finished giving evidence.
Splash News director said ‘she’s keeping to her story’, witness claims
PR executive Ms Adaarewa claims that during the meeting at a “bistro”, Danny Hayward – director of Splash News – discussed Rebekah Vardy with “well-known” unnamed individual “Mr Y”.
Ms Adaarewa tells the court that Mr Hayward said: “It’s all going off here… she’s keeping to her story”.
Under questioning from Mr Tomlinson QC, Ms Adaarewa says that she “assumed” that “she” referred to “Becky, because he was talking a lot about Becky… he mentioned her name several times”.
She says she was very surprised that Mr Hayward “opened up” with her present, in a public restaurant, as she felt as though she was listening to a private conversation between friends.
“He appeared to have just forgotten I was there… he didn’t speak to me, and if I’m honest with you I don’t even remember him saying goodbye to me at the end of the conversation.”
Pictured: Court artist sketches from this morning
Witness asks not to name ‘well-known’ person
PR consultant Penny Adaarewa is now being questioned by Mrs Vardy’s lawyer.
She is being asked about a meeting she attended in “a bistro” shortly after the media storm that followed Mrs Rooney’s viral post.
She says that Caroline Watt didn’t turn up to the meeting, which was due to be about “potential PR projects”.
She says it was supposed to be a “get to know each other” session.
Ms Adaarewa asks not to name a “well-known” individual, labelled “Mr Y”, who put the meeting on “speakerphone”.
She says naming him could affect his work, and writes down the name so that it is not heard by the court.
And we're back.
We're back after a break for lunch.
The court is now hearing from the final witness, Penny Adaarewa.
Pictured: Coleen Rooney's 'fake' Instagram stories
Below are screenshots of "fake" Instagram stories posted by Coleen Rooney as part of her alleged "sting operation" designed to catch out a so-called leaker.
The "gender selection" post
The "flooded basement" post
Break for lunch
The court is now taking a break for lunch. We'll be back at 2pm.
Coleen Rooney has ‘become a different wife and a different mother’, Wayne Rooney says
Taking questions from Mrs Rooney’s lawyer David Sherborne, Mr Rooney says that his wife has become “a different mother, a different wife” over the last two and a half years.
“I've watched my wife over the past two and a half years really struggle with everything that's gone on... she's become a different mother, a different wife," he says.
"It’s been really traumatic for my wife,” he adds.
He adds that, “hopefully, whatever the judgement is on this case,” his family can go on and live their lives.
"When Mr Sherborne asks him if he wants to be in court for the trial, Mr Rooney responds: “I don’t think anyone wants to be in court”.
Mr Rooney has now finished giving evidence.
Rooney says he did not speak to Jamie Vardy about his wife's 'leaking' concerns
Responding to questions from Mr Tomlinson QC, Wayne Rooney says he did not speak to Jamie Vardy about his wife's suspicion that Mrs Vardy was leaking stories about her to the press.
Mr Rooney says he did not speak to Mr Vardy about it as "Jamie was a teammate for the national team" and that they were not friends "on a social level, so I didn't believe it was my place to do that".
"My wife was dealing with it in her own way that I was completely unaware of," he says.
He adds: "The abuse that Mrs Vardy has received is disgusting, it's not right for a woman to receive that abuse."
Wayne Rooney says ‘you become accustomed’ to private information being made public
When asked whether it was “a matter of concern” for him that The Sun was “getting hold of” private information, Mr Rooney responds that “it’s always a matter of concern when it involves your family”.
But he says that he and his wife have “had to deal” with this since they were 16.
“You become accustomed to it… I’ve learnt how to deal with it,” he tells the court.
Wayne Rooney has private Instagram account, court hears
The court hears that, like his wife, Wayne Rooney has a private Instagram account.
He is not very active on it, he says, and he believes it has around 300 followers.
Wayne Rooney asked Vardy to tell his wife to ‘calm down’, court hears
Mr Rooney tells the court that he told Jamie Vardy to ask his wife to “calm down” during the Euros 2019.
Mr Tomlinson QC, for Mrs Vardy, quips: “She wasn’t dancing on tables!”
It was ‘awkward’ to speak to Jamie Vardy about his wife, Wayne Rooney says
Mr Rooney is being questioned about the Euros 2016, when Jamie Vardy was part of the squad.
He says that he spoke to Mr Vardy about “issues” regarding his wife Rebekah during the Euros, after he was asked to by the England manager.
“It was an awkward moment for me to speak to Jamie about his wife… but I thought it was necessary,” Mr Rooney tells the court.
He says that Mrs Vardy was "on FaceTime a lot" to Mr Vardy during the tournament. "She was almost there with the team," he says.
Rebekah and Jamie Vardy are seen briefly whispering to each other as Mr Rooney begins giving evidence.
Wayne Rooney begins giving evidence
Wayne Rooney has entered the witness box. He is being questioned by Mrs Vardy's lawyer.
Coleen Rooney is a 'very private person', agent says
Responding to questioning from Mrs Rooney's lawyer David Sherborne, Mr Stretford says that Mrs Rooney is a "very private person".
"You obviously have known Mrs Rooney for many years," he says, asking: "What kind of person is she? Is she a private person or public person?"
"Very private person," responds Mr Stretford.
When asked whether Mrs Rooney is the kind of person to "burden" other people with her problems and "generally share her feelings or beliefs with lots of people", he responds: "Absolutely not".
Mr Stretford has now concluded providing evidence in the witness box.
Abuse Vardy received online was ‘unacceptable’, agent says
Mr Tomlinson QC asks Mr Stretford why he did not do anything when he heard about the online abuse Rebekah Vardy received after the viral so-called “Wagatha Christie” post was shared.
“My concentration and my efforts were all focused on supporting Coleen”, he responds.
He adds that the abuse Mrs Vardy received was “absolutely unacceptable”.
Mr Tomlinson QC has now concluded his questioning of Mr Stretford.
Stretford denies arranging staged paparazzi photos of Coleen Rooney
In his witness statement, Mr Stretford said:
"I understand that Rebekah Vardy has suggested in her correspondence with Simon Boyle, a journalist at The Sun, that I have an 'army of f****** minions' working for me and for Coleen.
"This is untrue.
"I further understand that Caroline Watt and Rebekah Vardy have alleged that I arrange for staged paparazzi shots of Coleen to be taken.
"Again, this is untrue."
Mr Stretford also said in his witness statement that he "never got the impression that (Mrs Rooney) is particularly bothered about fame or even putting herself out there".
Stretford did not receive notification about ‘gender selection’ story
Mr Stretford says he did not receive a notification about The Sun's “gender selection” article about Mrs Rooney.
He says Rachel Monk spoke to Mrs Rooney about this directly.
He also says that he did not discuss the “planned return to TV” story – which The Sun published in September 2019 – with Mrs Rooney. Responding to a question from Mr Tomlinson QC, Mr Stretford says that his wife followed Mrs Rooney’s private Instagram account.
Asked again about Mrs Rooney’s so-called “sting operation”, Mr Stretford reiterates that Mrs Rooney did not discuss it with him before the 2019 "reveal" post.
Stretford quizzed about alleged 'sting operation false stories'
Mr Stretford is being questioned about articles that appeared in The Sun in 2019, which Mrs Rooney says were false and part of her so-called "sting operation".
Mr Stretford pauses, blaming something being caught "in his throat". Mrs Vardy's lawyer points out it could be due to "pollen".
Agent ‘didn’t want to assist the Sun’ regarding alleged ‘car crash’ story
Mr Stretford says he “didn’t want to assist The Sun in their quest to stand up” a story about an alleged “car crash” involving Mrs Rooney.
The court hears Mr Stretford told Rachel Monk, the Rooneys’ PR who gave evidence on Monday, not to give any assistance to the tabloid regarding the story.
Wayne Rooney’s agent says he became aware of alleged leaks in 2017
Under questioning from Mrs Vardy’s lawyer, Wayne Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford says he became aware that Mrs Rooney’s private information was allegedly being leaked to the Sun in 2017.
Mr Tomlinson points out that Mr Stretford is not an Instagram user himself, and asks how he became aware of the alleged leaks.
Mr Stretford responds that he had had a conversation with Wayne Rooney, who mentioned that his wife was “extremely upset” about the so-called leaks, and that she “wasn’t sure who to trust”.
He says that he did not speak to Mrs Rooney about her concerns at the time, and only heard about her suspicions again in 2019, from her viral “reveal” post.
Mr Streford says he had no knowledge “whatsoever” about Mrs Rooney’s “sting operation” until she shared the post.
Wayne Rooney's agent Paul Stretford enters witness box
Wayne Rooney's football agent Paul Stretford has begun giving evidence in the witness box.
Vardy's lawyer asks Claire Rooney about Soho Farmhouse pictures
Mr Tomlinson QC is quizzing Claire Rooney about photos that she shared on Instagram from a trip to Soho Farmhouse.
Mrs Rooney was on the trip.
Responding to questioning from Mr Tomlinson, Ms Rooney says she doesn't know if these photos were reposted to public Instagram accounts.
Claire Rooney has now finished giving evidence to the court.
Wayne Rooney’s cousin questioned by Rebekah Vardy's lawyer
Claire Rooney, Wayne Rooney’s cousin, is giving evidence in the witness box.
Ms Rooney is being questioned by Rebekah Vardy's lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson QC.
She says she is close to Coleen Rooney and her husband, and that she was a follower on Mrs Rooney's private Instagram account.
She says she "didn't feel the need to ask" Mrs Rooney any questions when she saw her tweet regarding her concerns about a suspected leaker.
Rebekah and Jamie Vardy hold hands in court
Rebekah Vardy is holding hands with her husband Jamie Vardy inside the court.
As they take their seats in court beside their wives, Mr Rooney and Mr Vardy appear to exchange a brief nod.
This is Mr Vardy's first time at court.
Rebekah Vardy arrives with husband Jamie
Rebekah Vardy has arrived in court, accompanied by her footballer husband Jamie Vardy.
Coleen and Wayne Rooney arrive
Coleen Rooney has returned to the High Court in London for the sixth day of the "Wagatha Christie" libel trial.
Wearing a black dress, she was again joined by her husband, former England football star Wayne Rooney, who smiled at the crowd of photographers waiting outside court.
What happened yesterday
Coleen Rooney concluded giving evidence on Monday.
She called messages between Rebekah Vardy and her former agent “evil” as she accused the pair of “monitoring and stalking” her.
Mrs Rooney said: “The messages that went on between them were just evil and uncalled for”.
Last week, the court heard that Mrs Vardy had referred to someone, allegedly Mrs Rooney, using expletives.
Before she finished giving evidence, Mrs Rooney also said that she has “never craved press attention”.
Responding to Hugh Tomlinson QC’s claim that she enjoyed the attention she received after her so-called "Wagatha Christie" post went viral,
Mrs Rooney said that she did not.
"I'm not one to draw attention to myself, I never have been,” she said, adding that she has “hated every minute of it”.
The High Court also heard that Mrs Rooney kept her so-called "sting operation" from her footballer husband Wayne, as she didn't want to put her "troubles and worries" on others.
On Monday afternoon, the Court heard from Mrs Rooney’s PR, Rachel Monk, who said that she had a “professional, friendly relationship” with her client.
Mrs Monk said she has “never asked a journalist to reveal their source”, as she responded to questions regarding a conversation she had with a journalist from The Sun.
The fifth day of the hearing concluded with evidence provided by Coleen Rooney’s brother, Joe McLoughlin.
Mr McLoughlin said that he did not know about his sister's concerns – about an alleged "leaker" – until she decided to speak about it publicly on social media.
He said that she never mentioned her concerns to him personally, until he asked her about it when he read her public tweets.
See yesterday’s live blog for the key moments from day five of the trial.