Coleen Rooney has been denied permission to bring a High Court claim against Rebekah Vardy’s former agent as part of their ongoing libel case.
In an October 2019 Twitter post, Rooney, 35, accused Vardy, 39, of leaking stories about her private life after embarking on a ‘sting operation’ for several months.
Rooney, who is married to former England star Wayne Rooney, claimed Vardy had shared fake stories she posted on her personal Instagram account with The Sun newspaper.
Vardy, who is married to Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy, vehemently denies the claims.
Her lawyers previously claimed that Vardy had leaked information to The Sun either directly or through her agent Caroline Watt ‘acting on her instruction or with her knowing approval’.
Rooney is also bringing a claim against Watt for misuse of private information and during a hearing last Tuesday and Wednesday, asked for it to be joined to the libel claim.
Her barrister David Sherborne argued that, if Vardy wins her claim on the basis that she was not the person who leaked the information, then Rooney will be left without ‘vindication’ unless she is able to bring the claim against Watt as part of the same case.
Vardy’s lawyers opposed the application to add the claim against Watt to the libel case.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Vardy, said in written arguments: ‘If the defendant had genuinely wished to bring a misuse of private information claim against Ms Watt in order to vindicate her rights this claim could have been brought 15 months ago.’
During the ruling on Monday, Mrs Justice Steyn refused permission for the additional claim against Watt and refused permission for it to be heard alongside the libel trial.
However, the judge gave the go-ahead for Rooney to amend her defence case, to include an allegation that Vardy, through Watt, provided information to The Sun about an unnamed professional footballer.
She also gave permission for disclosure of WhatsApp messages between Vardy and Watt during the relevant period, and allowed 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 Rooney and Vardy.
It comes after bombshell claims in last week’s hearings, which included allegations that Vardy sent text messages calling Rooney a ‘c**t’ and ‘nasty b***h’.
However, Vardy’s barrister Tomlinson QC told the court: ‘This is not a passage about Mrs Rooney, it is a passage about someone else.’
Tomlinson previously told the court that the messages referred to by Rooney’s barrister Sherborne, which were said to ‘reveal that Mrs Vardy and Ms Watt are responsible for the leaking’, were ‘selective’, and said parts of the exchanges which were left out had ‘precisely the opposite effect’.
He added: ‘If one reads these messages in full, what one sees is that Mrs Vardy expresses shock at being accused and she is here communicating with the person that Mr Sherborne says is her co-conspirator.
‘These are obviously candid personal messages, and if she was really concerned – “Oh, this is terrible, we have been found out” – then it would have been completely different.’
The trial is due to begin in early May but is likely to be delayed.
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