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Wagatha Christie: Rooney planted 17 fake stories on private Instagram to entrap leaker

Coleen Rooney planted 17 fake stories on her private Instagram page as part of a sting operation aimed to entrap the person who was leaking information about her personal life to The Sun newspaper, a court heard on Friday.

Over several months in 2019, Rooney became convinced that information from her private Instagram accounts had informed stories which appeared in The Sun and she posted deliberately false information in order to confirm her theory. The court heard earlier in the week how Rooney removed all accounts from viewing her stories, with the exception of the one belonging to her prime suspect Rebekah Vardy, which enabled her to then point the finger at Vardy’s account as being the source of the leaks.

The false information included posts which suggested her house had flooded and that she was considering an opportunity on reality television. The false posts also included a fake suggestion that she was setting up an events company and that she intended to host a housewarming party. The court heard that two of these stories subsequently appeared in The Sun newspaper.

Earlier on Friday, Vardy exited the witness box on the fourth day of questioning and insisted once again that she was not responsible for leaking information to the newspaper. Asked by her own barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC how the cross-examination by Rooney’s legal team had made her feel, Vardy said: “Exhausting, intimidating, I feel like I had been bullied and manipulated.” Vardy was afforded one break after becoming tearful (there were several breaks in similar circumstances during previous days), before concluding: “I have not done anything wrong; I want to clear my name, for my family and my children.”

Vardy said she does not know if her agent Caroline Watt, who had access to her account, shared any information relating to Rooney.

Before she exited, Vardy’s own lawyer recapped events at a tournament involving the England men’s football team, where it was suggested by media reports that Wayne Rooney had told Jamie Vardy that it might be smart for Rebekah Vardy to keep a lower profile. Rebekah Vardy said she discussed the matter with her husband.

She told the court: “Jamie was quite angry actually, as he currently still is, as he says that the conversation never happened. We had a conversation on FaceTime and he basically said it was a load of bollocks.”

He added: “No one said a word. It was probably The FA. (Football Association).”

Vardy’s lawyer Tomlinson also gave her the opportunity to clarify the circumstances of an interview she gave to the News of the World newspaper in 2004, where she appeared to discuss private matters of pop singer Peter Andre when she compared his penis to a chipolata sausage.

“There’s a lot of things that didn’t come out of my mouth,” Vardy replied, “which were misrepresented, there are things I am deeply sorry for, it is one of my biggest regrets. I was very young. I have sent both him and his wife personal messages since.”

Coleen Rooney then took to the witness box shortly before lunchtime. Rooney’s witness statement revealed that she had sought “to resolve the matter amicably on various occasions” before it reached court. It was Vardy who brought the case against Rooney after the wife of former England captain Wayne Rooney accused her publicly of leaking the information.

Rooney’s statement said: “I was of the view that the time, money, resources and efforts involved could be spent elsewhere, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Rooney said she made efforts to resolve matters in May 2020, October 2020 and January 2021 but these were all “in vain”. She added that she had “no doubt this litigation, whatever the outcome, will benefit neither Becky nor myself.”

Speaking under cross-examination by Vardy’s lawyer Tomlinson, Rooney said: “I don’t want to be here in court today but Mrs Vardy has brought me here. I was upset that my personal info was passed onto a newspaper. I have put up with it for years but this was people I had accepted into my personal space giving info about me without my consent.”

The trial continues.

(Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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