Coleen Rooney’s post accusing Rebekah Vardy of leaking stories about her private life to the media “clearly identified” her as “guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust she alleges,” the Supreme Court has ruled.
Ms. Rooney, 34, accused Ms. Vardy, 38, of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the media last October after performing a months-long “stabbing operation” to which she was dubbed “Wagatha Christie.”
The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney claimed that fellow footballer Ms. Vardy shared fake stories she posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.
Ms. Rooney wrote on Instagram and Twitter: “I have saved and screened all the original stories, clearly showing that only one person viewed them.
‘It is ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account. “
Ms. Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, has denied the charges and is suing Ms. Rooney for damages for libel.
In a verdict on Friday, Mr. Justice Warby ruled that the “natural and ordinary” meaning of Ms. Rooney’s messages was that Ms. Vardy had “regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower of Ms. Rooney’s personal Instagram account by the secretly inform The Sun newspaper of Ms Rooney’s private messages and stories ”.
In announcing his decision, the judge said that the meaning he had determined was “essentially the same as the plaintiff’s intent.”
In his statement, Mr Justice Warby said that Ms Rooney’s message was “a deliberate post, with wording composed with some care,” adding: “It would be clear to the common reader from the outset that it was was meant seriously and was meant to convey a message of some importance. “
He also dismissed Ms Rooney’s claim that she was simply referring to Ms Vardy’s Instagram account, rather than Ms Vardy herself.
The judge ruled, “I certainly don’t think the common reader would take that one word (account), although repeated, to indicate that Ms. Rooney is in doubt as to who the culprit was.”
He added, “There is nothing in these words, except for the word ‘account,’ which suggests in any way that the conduct Ms. Rooney is complaining about was committed by someone other than the account holder, Ms. Vardy.”
Mr Justice Warby also ordered Ms Rooney to pay Ms Vardy just under £ 23,000 in costs for Thursday’s hearing.
At that hearing, Ms. Vardy’s attorney Hugh Tomlinson QC said Ms. Rooney’s posts were a “false and unjustified defamatory attack” that was “published and republished in front of millions of people.”
He added, “In fact, she hasn’t done anything wrong. Whatever leaks there were, it was not from her. “
David Sherborne, representing Ms. Rooney, argued that it was “true” that Ms. Vardy was “responsible for consistently relaying information about the defendant’s private Instagram posts and stories to The Sun”.
He said, “Mrs. Rooney intends to defend these words as true in any sense.”
The court also heard that both Ms. Vardy and Ms. Rooney had agreed to a “stay” of the proceedings until February so that there “could be one last attempt to resolve the case without the need for a full trial”.