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Coleen Rooney’s lawyers will call on Rebekah Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt as a witness and cross examine her about WhatsApp messages shared between her and Ms Vardy as the long-running £1million ‘Wagatha Christie’ war between the pair continues.
The mother-of-four, whose lawyers previously claimed that Ms Vardy had leaked information to The Sun either directly or through her agent Caroline Watt ‘acting on her instruction or with her knowing approval’, was today refused permission to add her rival’s agent to the lawsuit.
She had asked for permission to bring an ‘additional claim’ against Ms Watt for misuse of private information and wanted it to be heard alongside the libel case.
But in a ruling on Monday, following a two-day hearing last week, Mrs Justice Steyn refused permission for the additional claim against Ms Watt.
However the judge gave the go-ahead for Ms Rooney to amend her defence case to include an allegation that Mrs Vardy, through Ms Watt, provided information to The Sun about an unnamed professional footballer.
She also gave permission for disclosure of WhatsApp messages between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt during the relevant period, and allowed Ms Rooney’s application for an order that both parties make a joint request for information to Instagram. She refused other disclosure applications made by both Ms Rooney and Ms Vardy.
The latest decision means Ms Rooney will not be prevented from pursuing a separate claim against Ms Watt for alleged misuse of private information if she chooses to do so.
Today, Ms Rooney’s spokesman said the latest judgement ‘did nothing to alter the fact that Ms Watt will be a witness in this case’ and confirmed she ‘will be subject to cross examination under oath about her relationship with Mrs Vardy’.
They also said Ms Rooney was ‘pleased’ that today’s judgment left it open for her to bring separate legal action against Caroline Watt.
A spokesman for Ms Rooney said: ‘Coleen is pleased that today’s judgment leaves it open to her to bring separate legal action against Caroline Watt, following the details of telling WhatsApp conversations between her and Mrs Vardy laid before the court last week.
‘The judgment does nothing to alter the fact that Ms Watt will be a witness in this case. As such, she will be subject to cross examination under oath about her relationship with Mrs Vardy and the media and on the meaning of the WhatsApp messages.
‘In the light of this, Coleen and her lawyers look forward to seeing the results of the further extensive searches ordered today by the judge of Mrs Vardy’s WhatsApp messages with relevant parties, including the manual search of Mrs Vardy’s messages with Caroline Watt. In accordance with today’s ruling, Instagram will also be formally be asked to assist with disclosure of relevant Instagram data.
‘Coleen and her legal team remain confident of winning this case when it comes to trial in May.’
In a ruling today, the High Court judge said Ms Rooney’s bid to add her rival’s agent to the lawsuit was brought too late, would delay the case by up to a year, and that previous opportunities to make the claim had not been taken. She also ordered Ms Rooney to pay £65,000 towards Ms Watt’s legal costs for the hearing.
The two warring WAGs are now set for a £1million legal showdown in May after the High Court judge ruled on key areas that could decide the case and insisted that it needed to be settled at a full trial as quickly as possible.
In further disappointment for Ms Vardy, the judge refused an application from her lawyers that Ms Rooney disclose communication between herself and six key people which included football agent Paul Stretford, two PR agents and some of her relatives.
The court had already heard excerpts of explosive messages that were uncovered in which Ms Vardy calls Ms Rooney a ‘c**t’ and ‘nasty b****’ and fumes: ‘Stupid cow deserves everything she gets! Hope she gets sold out massively now.’
Coleen Rooney’s (right) lawyers will call on Rebekah Vardy’s (left) agent Caroline Watt as a witness when the two warring WAGs face their £1million legal showdown in May
Ms Rooney’s lawyers previously claimed that Ms Vardy had leaked information to The Sun either directly or through her agent Caroline Watt ‘acting on her instruction or with her knowing approval’. She asked for permission to bring an ‘additional claim’ against Ms Watt for misuse of private information and wanted it to be heard alongside the libel case. Pictured: Rebekah with her agent, Caroline Watt, at the National Television Awards in 2019
The latest decision means Ms Rooney (pictured with Rebekah Vardy during the Euros in 2016) will not be prevented from pursuing a separate claim against Ms Watt for alleged misuse of private information if she chooses to do so
JANUARY 2019: Ms Vardy texts Miss Watt and is said to have described Coleen as a ‘nasty b****… I’ve taken a big dislike to her! She thinks she’s amazing…Would love to leak those stories’
She also describes Ms Rooney as ‘trash’ and ‘up her own ar**’.
The messages also appeared to show Ms Vardy, 39 claiming that she would like to leak stories about Ms Rooney, 35, with Ms Watt admitting that she was responsible for one story appearing in The Sun.
Ms Rooney’s legal team is now preparing to sift through more evidence from Ms Vardy which they insist proves their case that she was the source of the leaks while maintaining that the astonishing messages they have uncovered so far are just the tip of the iceberg.
A full trial is scheduled for May with both WAGS facing final legal costs of almost £1.8million. Ordering Ms Rooney to pay £65,000 towards Ms Watt’s legal costs following the unsuccessful bid to join her to the libel case, Mrs Justice Steyn said: ‘It seems to me that is a reasonable and proportionate sum.
What the judge granted and what was refused in today’s ‘Wagatha Christie’ hearing
REFUSED: An application by Ms Rooney’s legal team to add Ms Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt to their claim that her private information had been violated. The judge also ruled that any documents related to Ms Watt in this regard cannot be used.
GRANTED: The judge allowed for WhatsApp messages between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt to be searched over a ‘relevant period’ of time on nine separate occasions between 23 January 2019 and 9 October 2019.
REFUSED: An application for Ms Vardy and Ms Watt to hand over all communication with a group of journalists from The Sun and any payments made to them.
REFUSED: An application by Ms Vardy’s legal team for evidence of communication between Ms Rooney and six key people including football agent Paul Stretford; two PRs and family members.
GRANTED: The judge gave the go-ahead for Ms Rooney to amend her defence case, to include an allegation that Ms Vardy, through Ms Watt, provided information to The Sun about an unnamed professional footballer, referred to as Mr X.
REFUSED: An application from Ms Rooney’s lawyers for further information about 11 articles that appeared The Sun’s Secret Wag column after they claimed that she was the author or ‘the primary source’ for the column.
GRANTED: An application by Ms Rooney for an order that both parties make a joint request for information to Instagram.
‘It is fair to say that a considerable period of time would have been needed given the standing-start the respondent had for what is, for the respondent, quite a substantial application’.
Mrs Justice Steyn said her reason for refusing the bid by Ms Rooney’s legal team was that it was brought too late and that previous opportunities to make the claim had not been taken.
She continued: ‘The effect of granting the application would be to delay the determination of the claimant’s libel claim by six to 12 months.
‘That would not be fair to the claimant who seeks to vindicate her reputation and would suffer the prejudice of the litigation being prolonged.’
The judge’s decision does not prevent Mrs Rooney from pursuing a separate claim against Ms Watt for alleged misuse of private information if she wishes to.
Last week’s hearing gave a flavour of what may be in store for the full libel case later this year after excerpts of messages were read out in court. The explosive texts were revealed in full after a technological error meant they weren’t redacted – in what Ms Rooney’s legal team described as a classic ‘smoking gun’.
The uncovered messages also seemingly pin the blame on Ms Vardy for a controversial picture of fellow England team WAGs outside a restaurant in St Petersburg, Russia during the 2018 World Cup that later appeared in The Sun.
In the messages, Ms Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie, 35, is said to have viciously described Ms Rooney as a ‘nasty b****’ and a ‘c***’, while Ms Watt brands the wife of former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney as ‘trash’ and ‘up her own ar**’.
In other exchanges, the duo discuss how they plan to react after mother-of-four Ms Rooney unfollowed Ms Vardy on Instagram – which her lawyers say was the source of the leaks.
Ms Vardy allegedly wrote of their social media war: ‘Stupid cow deserves everything she gets! Hope she gets sold out massively now.’
The unredacted incendiary messages sent between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt were forwarded to Ms Rooney’s lawyers at their offices in Manchester at the end of 2021.
Within the exchanges, which began in February 2019, Ms Vardy twice calls Ms Rooney a ‘c***’ after she realises she was unfollowed on Instagram on February 6.
Ms Vardy later warns: ‘Not having her bad mouth me to anyone…if she’s doing that my god she will be sorry.’
A month earlier she had texted Miss Watt and is said to have described Ms Rooney as a ‘nasty b****… I’ve taken a big dislike to her! She thinks she’s amazing…Would love to leak those stories.’
Ms Vardy’s lawyers have since said she was referring to someone else in the text messages and that they have been taken out of context.
The pair are even said to have discussed a cover-up story that would have blamed ‘one of the girls in the office’ if further evidence arose that squarely pinned Ms Watt and Ms Vardy as being behind the leaks.
In a message sent on February 6, 2019, Ms Watt writes: ‘If she [Coleen] does try to say it or that it was me and it’s undeniably obvious what we’ll do is say I left the company I was working for in Jan and one of the girls in the office has my old laptop that had your passwords saved on it so will have been them and now you will have to change everything.’
Meanwhile, the exchanges also shine a new light on the controversial picture of fellow England team WAGs outside a restaurant in St Petersburg, Russia during the 2018 World Cup that later appeared in The Sun.
Vardy had been pictured out on a restaurant trip with Millie Savage, Gemma Acton, Megan Davison, Annabel Peyton, Fern Hawkins, Shannon Horlock, Annie Kilner and Lucia Loi two days before England’s first-round matchup against Belgium.
In a ruling on Monday, following a two-day hearing last week, Mrs Justice Steyn refused permission for the additional claim against Ms Watt. The two warring WAGs (pictured here together cheering on England in 2016) are now set for a legal showdown in May after the High Court judge ruled on key areas that could decide the case and insisted that it needed to be settled at a full trial as quickly as possible
FEBRUARY 2019: Ms Watt and Ms Vardy realise Rooney has unfollowed them on Instagram. In a series of messages, Rebekah, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie, 35, is said to have described Coleen as a ‘nasty b****’ and a ‘c***’, while Ms Watt brands the wife of former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney as ‘trash’ and ‘up her own ar**’
OCTOBER 2019: The pair discuss their response to Coleen’s now infamous Wagatha Christie claims. The text messages are said to show Rebekah describing Mrs Rooney as a ‘b***’ and a ‘c***’
Today Ms Rooney’s spokesman said the latest judgement ‘did nothing to alter the fact that Ms Watt will be a witness in this case’. Pictured: Coleen Rooney and Wayne Rooney in November 2021
Judge orders Rebekah Vardy to pay £32,000 towards Coleen Rooney’s legal bill – while Ms Rooney is told to pay £65,000 towards Caroline Watt’s
Rebekah Vardy was ordered to pay £32,000 towards Coleen Rooney’s legal bill in her failed attempt to have Caroline Watt included in the libel case.
The court was told Rooney’s legal bill for the latest ‘Wagatha’ court fight totalled £163,926.
The judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, ruled that Vardy should make a 20 per cent contribution towards her rival’s costs.
David Sherborne, representing Mrs Rooney, had asked for half of the six-figure bill to be paid by Mrs Vardy but this was rejected by the judge.
Mrs Rooney was also ordered to pay Watt’s legal bill of £65,000.
Her counsel had initially asked for £70,000 but the judge reduced the amount after hearing a breakdown of some of the figures. Leading counsel had claimed £31,000 while a further £27,000 was claimed by her solicitors.
David Sherborne thanked the judge for taking part in the hearing despite suffering from Covid.
The hearing was held remotely with interested parties joining via laptop computers.
Leaked WhatsApp texts revealed Ms Vardy had messaged her agent, Caroline Watt, in the minutes before the encounter: ‘We may have to walk to the restaurant from hotel now… so might be a good pic of us walking down it’s about 10/15 mins away.’
Two hours later, Vardy messages Watt again: ‘On way down in the restaurant car… He’s doing two runs… If he’s hiding here he is hiding in bushes or behind trees lol.’
Ms Vardy had previously denied responsibility for the papped-up picture of her and the fellow WAGs at the tournament.
Further messages in court documents show Danielle Lloyd branded Ms Vardy a ‘rat.’
The slur was allegedly sent in response to a message posted on Ms Rooney’s private Instagram account, shortly before she named Ms Vardy as ‘the mole leaking stories to the press.’
As reported by The Sun Danielle texted: ‘She is rat feel ashamed for her.’
Real Housewives of Cheshire star Magali Gorre also allegedly replied to Ms Rooney’s message, saying: ‘What will her husband and family see her now – it’s shocking to me.’
The brutal libel battle kicked off after Ms Rooney sensationally accused Ms Vardy of leaking stories in the now infamous Wagatha Christie post in October 2019.
After one story from Ms Rooney’s private Instagram appeared in the Sun, she told her followers: ‘Someone on here is selling stories again to this scum of a paper. It’s sad to think someone who I have accepted to follow me is betraying [me] for either money or to keep a relationship with the press.’
Discussing this post, Ms Watt is said to have acknowledged a role in providing information to the newspaper, according to messages disclosed to the court, writing: ‘Such a victim. Poor Coleen … And it wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me.’
The pair are said to have then discussed concerns that Ms Rooney increasingly suspected Ms Vardy of leaking to the media and had unfollowed her on Instagram.
Ms Watt allegedly suggested that if any issues were raised, they would claim ‘one of the girls in the office has my old laptop that had your passwords saved on it, so it will have been them’.
In the messages, Ms Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie, 35, is said to have viciously described Ms Rooney as a ‘nasty b****’ and a ‘c***’, while Ms Watt brands the wife of former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney (pictured today) as ‘trash’ and ‘up her own ar**’.
Coleen Rooney’s legal team were hoping that the disclosure of more messages would strengthen their case with a full trial looming in May. But a judge threw out their request that ‘all relevant WhatsApp, email, SMS/iMessage, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram communications’ between Rebekah Vardy and her agent, Caroline Watt be handed over to them
In further disappointment for Ms Vardy (pictured with Jamie Vardy), the judge refused an application from her lawyers that Ms Rooney disclose communication between herself and six key people
Ms Watt allegedly planned to blame ‘one of the girls in the office’ if it became ‘undeniably obvious’ she leaked Ms Rooney’s private information to the press, according to texts shown to High Court
In one message between Ms Vardy and her agent, it was claimed, Ms Vardy declared ‘It’s war’ after Ms Rooney publicly named her as the source of the leaks in October 2019 (left). The pair then discuss a story on The Sun about Ms Rooney crashing her car, with Ms Vardy referencing a tweet (see message, right) in which she claimed someone had leaked the story from her private Instagram
Another exchange, the court heard, showed Ms Vardy complaining how Ms Rooney ‘thinks it’s me that’s been doing stories on her’
Ms Rooney’s lawyers claimed that Ms Watt has not provided the mobile phone she used at the time for examination, insisting that she dropped it in the North Sea while on a family holiday just days after being ordered to hand it over by a High Court judge.
In another message between the two, it was claimed, Ms Vardy declared ‘It’s war’ after Ms Rooney publicly named her as the source of the leaks in October 2019.
Who is Caroline Watt? Former Virgin Atlantic hostess credited with boosting her friend Rebekah Vardy’s profile
Caroline Watt is a former Virgin Atlantic air hostess who has been Rebekah Vardy’s agent for the past seven years, helping to build her profile in the national media.
Reports that she no longer represents her following the current controversy engulfing the two have been dismissed as inaccurate with Ms Watt remaining close to Ms Vardy both professionally and personally.
Ms Watt, 39, is married to former footballer Steve Watt, who played briefly for Chelsea, making one Premier League appearance for two minutes in 2005 and Swansea City. He is currently manager of Kent non-league side Hythe Town and they have two children.
After leaving the airline industry, Ms Watt began working as an agent in the world of entertainment, quickly developing a reputation for her communication skills and ability to network.
She was formerly employed by talent agency The Frontrow Partnership but left in 2019 to go it alone and took her main client and close friend, Ms Vardy with her.
Ms Watt has been credited with building Ms Vardy’s public profile by ensuring that she regularly featured in the national media and also brokered the deal for her to appear on the hit reality TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2018.
Ms Watt started representing the high-profile WAG in 2015, when her husband, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy shot to fame.
She is a regular visitor to the Vardy’s Lincolnshire home and also socialises with Ms Vardy, attending glitzy parties and bars.
Her other clients include the former Page 3 girl Nicola McLean but it is Ms Vardy that has been the biggest asset in her career as an agent.
During another exchange after Ms Rooney had been involved in a car crash and posted about it on Instagram, it is claimed Ms Vardy wrote in a WhatsApp message to Ms Watt: ‘She’s a nasty b***h x’ and added: ‘Would love to leak those stories.’
Ms Watt replied: ‘I would have tried to have done a story on Coleen but the evidence has been deleted x,’ with Ms Vardy then passing on details about the post to her.
The court heard that the two women then discussed leaking the story to The Sun with Ms Watt writing to Ms Vardy a few days later that a journalist from the newspaper is ‘trying to do a story on Coleen crashing her car but her PR won’t even reply. I’ve told him I’m 100% confident that it happened but don’t know how’.
‘She deffo did,’ Ms Vardy responded.
An article then appeared on January 25, 2019 about Ms Rooney being involved in a car crash, prompting her to take to Twitter where she fumed that ‘someone on my private Instagram…. is telling or selling stories to a certain newspaper.’
She added: ‘It’s sad to think someone who I have accepted to follow me is betraying me either for money or to keep a relationship with the press.’
In a subsequent WhatsApp exchange, the court heard, Ms Vardy messaged Ms Watt, saying: ‘U seen Coleen’s Twitter.’
Ms Watt replied: ‘Such a victim. Poor Coleen…. And it wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me.’
A few days later the two women discussed via WhatsApp a picture posted by Ms Rooney in her car which appeared to show one of her children not wearing a seatbelt.
Ms Watt warned her that because it was on Ms Rooney’s private Instagram, ‘we can’t do anything with it.’ She added: ‘She has taken it down now too.’
Ms Vardy fumed: ‘She’s such a d*** x.’
Another exchange, the court heard, showed Ms Vardy complaining how Ms Rooney ‘thinks it’s me that’s been doing stories on her’.
‘I know x’, Ms Watt replied.
‘That c*** needs to get over herself! X,’ wrote Ms Vardy, before adding: ‘Someone on her Instagram regularly sells stories on her though x.’
Ms Watt said: ‘Because she is private she can remove you as a follower and it stops you from seeing her page x.’
‘What a joke! All I’ve ever been is nice to her though! Even when Wayne was being a c*** x,’ Ms Vardy said.
David Sherbourne QC, representing Ms Rooney, read out transcripts of other messages in which Ms Vardy is said to abuse her.
In one, which the court heard was sent to Ms Watt after she discovered that Ms Rooney had unfollowed her, Ms Vardy wrote: ‘Omg… I just saw wow… what a c**t… I’m going to message her.’
After being advised by Ms Watt not to contact Ms Rooney immediately, Ms Vardy replied: ‘That c*** needs to get over herself. That’s falling out material.’
It is claimed the two women then discussed the ramifications of what would happen if Ms Rooney finds out for definite that she was involved in leaking stories about her and that the story on the car crash came from Ms Watt.
Ms Watt replied: ‘I don’t think anyone would. The [journalist] never would and I wouldn’t tell anyone but The Sun and you would think she’d message you if someone said your agent had done that surely.’
A message exchange between the two women from October 2019, following Ms Rooney’s post claiming Ms Vardy was responsible for leaking stories about her shows them discussing how they can explain the leaks.
Ms Watt tells Ms Vardy that if she ‘tries to say it was me’ she would claim that she had ‘left the company’ and that could blame an employee with access to her old laptop. Mr Sherbourne described this in court as the ‘fake user claim.’
Ms Vardy replies in a message: ‘Ok! Just don’t know how she ever would know that unless [the Sun journalist] has leaked it.’
Other WhatsApp messages between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt show them discussing a post from Ms Rooney in April 2019, in which she hinted that she was travelling to Mexico for gender selection.
It later emerged that this was a deliberately false post as part of her attempts to uncover who was behind the leaks.