Colin Rooney ‘never believed’ Wagatha Christie case should have gone to court

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Olin Rooney has welcomed his victory in the “Wagatha Christie” High Court case brought by Rebecca Vardy but added that he “never believed it should have gone to court” and that “this case Wasn’t that I ever looked for or not.”

In a social media post that went viral in October 2019, Mrs Rooney, 36, said she had carried out a month-long “sting operation” and accused Mrs Verdi, 40, of spreading “false stories” about her private life to the press. “Leaking. .

The wife of former England footballer Wayne Rooney has publicly claimed that Mrs Vardy’s account was the source behind three reports in The Sun newspaper that included fake details he had posted on his private Instagram stories.

Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, denied leaking the news to the media and sued her fellow footballer’s wife for defamation, while Mrs Rooney defended claims that her The post was “true enough”.

In a much-anticipated ruling on Friday, Mrs Justice Steyn found in favor of Mrs Rooney and dismissed the claim against her.

After the verdict, Mrs Rooney said she was “delighted” with the outcome of the week-long trial in May.

He said: “This was not a case I ever sought or wanted. I never believed that so many people should have gone to court at such a difficult time at such expense when the money was spent by others. could have been better spent on helping

“Before and after my social media posts in October 2019, I did everything I could to avoid the need for such an expulsion and a public court case.

“All my attempts to do so were thwarted by Mrs. Verdi.”

Mrs Rooney added that she had “no alternative” but to defend the claim to “end the repeated leaks of my private information to The Sun”.

He continued: “These leaks from my private Instagram account started in 2017. They continued for almost two years, invading my privacy and that of my family.

“While I bear Mrs Verdi no ill will, today’s decision makes it clear that I was correct in what I said in my October 2019 posts.”

Colin and Wayne Rooney leave the Royal Courts of Justice in London (Aaron Chown/PA) / PA Wire

In her judgement, Mrs Justice Stein said it was “likely” that Mrs Verdi’s agent at the time, Caroline Watt, “acted directly” to pass on the information to The Sun.

But he added: “Nevertheless, the evidence … clearly shows, in my view, that Mrs Vardy knew about and condoned this behaviour, by directing Ms Watt to a private Instagram account. , became actively involved by sending screenshots of Ms. Rooney’s posts, drawing attention to items of possible press interest, and answering additional questions raised by Ms. Watt from the press.”

During the trial, both women gave evidence, as did Mr Rooney, 36, who played for Everton and Manchester United as well as England.

In her 76-page judgment, Mrs Justice Steyn said Mrs Verdi’s evidence was “manifestly inconsistent” with contemporary documentary evidence on “many occasions”.

She continued: “I bear in mind in assessing my evidence the stress she was naturally under, given the high-profile nature of the case, since the revealing post was published. Wally’s abuse, and the duration of it. Was in the witness box.”

The judge added: “Nonetheless, I think that, unfortunately, Mrs Verdi’s evidence must be treated with the utmost caution.”

During the trial, Mrs Rooney’s barrister, David Sherborne, argued that Mrs Vardy had a “habit and practice” of leaking information about people she knew – through Mrs Watt – to The Sun. .

He said text message exchanges between Mrs Vardy and Mrs Watt contained examples of the pair discussing leaking other people’s private information.

In her judgment, Mrs Justice Stein said: “In my judgment, I have come to the conclusion that the extent to which the claimant had participated in disclosing information to The Sun was limited to him as an authorized follower of an Instagram account. had access to. knew, and Mrs. Rooney repeatedly asserted, was private, is sufficient to show that the same meaning is sufficiently correct.”

Rebecca and Jamie Vardy outside court (Yui Mok/PA) / PA Wire

In the first judgment in the case in November 2020, the then Mr Justice Warby found that the viral post “clearly identified” Ms Verdi as “guilty of a serious and persistent breach of trust”.

It also found that a normal reader would take the post to claim that Mrs Vardy had “conceivably informed The Sun of Mrs Rooney’s personal posts and stories to enable Mrs Rooney’s personal Instagram account”. Itimd has regularly and frequently abused his position as a follower of trust”.

The war of abuse began after Mrs Rooney publicly claimed that an account behind three fake stories in The Sun that she posted on her personal Instagram account belonged to Mrs Vardy.

The fake stories Mrs Rooney posted on her Instagram during the sting operation highlighted her trip to Mexico for a “sex selection” procedure, plans to return to TV, and the flooding of her basement. was

In a post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, she wrote: “I’ve saved and screenshotted all the original stories to clearly show that only one person saw them. “It’s … by Rebecca Verdi. account.”

The total legal costs of the case are believed to be in the region of £3 million, most of which will now be borne by Mrs Verdi.