£3million bill for Rebekah Vardy, who insists judge got it wrong

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The wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy said the judge had been wrong to rule in 36-yearold Coleen’s favour following the sensational trial lasting more than two months.

Rebekah was savaged by High Court judge Mrs Justice Steyn after Coleen won the landmark libel case – bringing an end to the three-year saga.

Mrs Justice Steyn said Rebekah, 40, gave “manifestly inconsistent” evidence in the trial.

Rebekah, however, dismissed most of the judge’s findings, insisting: “She got it wrong and this is something I cannot accept.”

Coleen yesterday said she never “sought or wanted” the battle, saying the millions of pounds spent during her victory should have been spent “helping others”.

The mother of four and wife of former England striker Wayne, stressed that she bore Rebekah no “ill-will”.

Legal experts said the result was a public relations catastrophe for the loser. Media lawyer Jonathan Coad said the case was “an absolute disaster” for Rebekah, causing “terrible brand damage”.

He added: “What makes it even more tragic is that four times Coleen really tried to settle this case. More damaging, though, is that she’s effectively been branded a liar.”

Matt Gill, senior associate with Howard Kennedy solicitors, said: “Many people have long thought that Rebekah Vardy was making a huge mistake bringing this court claim.”

“Today’s judgment proved them right. Vardy has scored an embarrassing own goal.”

The long-running celebrity saga hinged on whether mother-of-two Rebekah had been leaking information from Coleen’s private social media accounts.

Observers gave the case it’s “Wagatha” tag after Rooney’s wife turned sleuth in 2019 by planting fake stories on her Instagram account, in an effort to find out who was leaking private information about her to the press.

After streamlining her privacy settings to try and catch the perpetrator, Coleen said the only account which had viewed the fake stories – which later ended up in a national newspaper – was Rebekah’s.

But Rebekah denied the allegation and brought the defamation claim.

Mrs Justice Steyn said it was “likely” that Rebekah’s agent, Caroline Watt, “undertook the direct act” of passing on the information.

She added: “Nonetheless, the evidence clearly shows, in my view, that Mrs Vardy knew of and condoned this behaviour, actively engaging in it.”

She said Rebekah directed Ms Watt’s attention to the stories by sending her screenshots of Coleen’s posts and answering any press queries about them.

The 76-page judgment calls the claimant’s testimony regularly “manifestly inconsistent” with documentary evidence.

It adds: “I bear in mind when assessing her evidence the degree of stress she was naturally feeling, given the high-profile nature of the trial.”

Mrs Justice Steyn also took into account “the abuse that she has suffered since the reveal post was published, and the length of time she was in the witness box”.

She went on: “Nevertheless, I find that it is, unfortunately, necessary to treat Mrs Vardy’s evidence with very considerable caution.”

Both women gave evidence in the trial, together with Wayne, 36, who played for Everton and Manchester United and now manages a Major League Soccer club in America.

Coleen’s barrister, David Sherborne, argued that Rebekah had a “habitual and established practice” of leaking gossip about friends to the press via MsWatt.

He said there were, in text message exchanges between Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt, examples of the pair discussing leaking other people’s private information.

In an earlier judgment in the case, Mr Justice Warby said Rebekah was “clearly identified” as “guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust”.

Judges had pleaded for both parties to settle the matter out of court before the trial’s May opening, but neither side backed down.

Coleen addressed the point after welcoming the judge’s decision, saying: “It was not a case I ever sought or wanted.

“I never believed it should have gone to court at such expense in times of hardship for so many people when the money could have been far better spent helping others.”

“Both before and after my social media posts October 2019, I made every effort to avoid the need for such a drawn out and public court case. All my attempts to do so were knocked back by Mrs Vardy. This left me with no alternative.”

She said the leaks intruded on “my privacy and that of my family” for two years and added: “Although I bear Mrs Vardy no ill-will, today’s judgment makes clear I was right in what I said.”

Rebekah said she was “extremely sad and disappointed at the decision”, adding: “I brought this action to vindicate my reputation and am devastated by the judge’s finding.”

Rebekah pointed out that Mrs Justice Steyn said Coleen’s post was not in the public interest and had rejected her claim that she was “the Secret Wag”.

She concluded: “But as for the rest of her judgment, she got it wrong and this is something I cannot accept.”

After the case Coleen’s friend, TV personality Lizzie Cundy, branded the case “such a waste of money” and said she had tried to mediate between the parties to prevent it going to court. 

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