Wednesday, July 6, 2022

‘Wagatha Christie’ trial: Rebekah Vardy denies ‘choreographing’ WAG photos at Russia 2018 World Cup

Rebekah Vardy has denied “masterminding” a photo of a footballer’s wife and girlfriend at the 2018 World Cup, the third day of her High Court defamation trial against Colleen Rooney.

Vardy is suing Rooney, 36, after she publicly accused her in 2019 of leaking “false stories” to the media.

Coleen Rooney’s barrister stopped discussing Vardy’s exchange with her agent about organising photographers in court yesterday.

David Sherborne referred to an exchange of information between Vardy, 40, and her then publicist and agent Caroline Watt, in which Ms Watt said she had “a photographer for tomorrow”, to which Vardy replied “yes”.

Vardy said Ms Watt had arranged for a photographer to take a picture of her as she left the hotel, but denied providing the photographer with the location of the hotel or restaurant where she went with a group of England wives and girlfriends that evening.

Wayne Rooney and wife Colleen

She said she was “happy” to be photographed leaving the hotel, but claimed the update she sent Ms Watt when plans changed throughout the evening was not because she was working with her agent to arrange a “patted” restaurant as they left.

Mr Sherborne said if the photographer had arranged purely for Vardy, he or she would not need to know how they got to the restaurant.

“I’ve been drinking”

Vardy told the court she could not recall the conversation with Ms Watt and said she thought there were several vehicles available to take the women to the dinner.

Mr Sherborne suggested that a message to Ms Watt said “I’ve bought for about 10 minutes”, referring to the fact that Vardy had delayed posting a group photo of some women on social media because of a photographer hiding in the bushes. With all of them, they “don’t want to lose their exclusivity”.

Vardy replied: “Well, it was like this, I don’t remember that, and if I’m being honest…I’ve been drinking.”

In a further exchange with Mr Sherborne, Vardy again denied planning the photo, adding: “If I had deliberately arranged the photo… I would happily admit I had.”

Other key points from day three

  • Vardy questions Rooney’s private Instagram post about her Honda
  • Rooney’s lawyer questions Vardy over text messages between her and Ms Watt about Rooney’s January 2019 crash
  • Vardy says reporters have information on Rooney crash

Witness Statement Repeatedly Amended

The court heard that Vardy’s witness statements were repeatedly redacted before the defamation trial began.

Mr Sherborne said content in her witness statement relating to the alleged staged photos varied throughout the disclosure.

Reading her initial witness statement, he said: “The claimant has nothing to do with the photo published in The Sun on June 26, 2018. She did not arrange for a photographer to be present and did not receive any payment.” You did not arrange for a a photograph? “.

She replied, “Yes, it’s true.”

He then read out an amendment for July 2021 that said: “‘The claimant did not carefully curate the photos published in The Sun'”.

Mr Sherborne said: “Since then you stopped saying you had nothing to do with the photos that were posted.”

Vardy said Mr Sherborne “confused her” when asked if either of those claims were true, before adding: “Sometimes you make mistakes.”

He claims she lied about it, which she denies.

Vardy was also asked about the post Rooney shared on her Instagram about her car, the Honda.

Rooney defended defamation claim on the basis of truth and public interest.

The court has previously heard the two women have spent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” on the case so far, with the total cost of the case expected to be at least £2 million.

The High Court trial will last about seven days, with a verdict expected at a later date.

Rooney is expected to give evidence on Friday.


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