Coleen Rooney has come out the victor in the long-running libel case brought against her by Rebekah Vardy. The case, dubbed “Wagatha Christie” stemmed from a post from Ms Rooney on Twitter and Instagram about the leaking of stories about her private life to the Sun newspaper. Ms Rooney explained that she had published fake stories about herself that were visible only to certain people on Instagram, reasoning that if they appeared in a newspaper she would have identified who was leaking them. In the denouement, she said ‘It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.’

Ms Vardy denied providing stories to the Sun, and sued Ms Rooney in libel. Rooney defended the claim, saying that the allegations are true, and their publication was in the public interest.

After a 7 day trial, the judge found that the allegations were substantially true, Ms Vardy, had supplied stories about Ms Rooney to the Sun, through her agent Ms Watt, whose actions were condoned by Ms Vardy. The judge found that several stories from Ms Rooney’s private Instagram were passed to the Sun by by Ms Watt, including two stories that were fabricated by Ms Rooney because she wanted to identify who was responsible for the leaks – these were one relating to Ms Rooney seemingly exploring gender selection to have a daughter, and one relating to the Rooney’s basement being flooded, neither of which in fact took place.

The judge said of Ms Vardy that “significant parts of her evidence were not credible”. The court also found that it was likely that Ms Vardy had deliberately deleted her WhatsApp chats with Ms Watt and that Ms Watt dropping her phone in the sea shortly after the court ordered it be inspected for evidence was not an accident. Despite that, WhatsApp messages did play an important role in the evidence, including messages between Ms Vardy and Ms Watt about Ms Rooney, and messages about footballer Danny Drinkwater’s arrest for drink-driving.

The truth defence provides a complete defence and so Ms Rooney successfully defended the claim. The public interest defence was therefore not needed, but the judge addressed it briefly, finding that although the subject matter was one of public interest, the defence failed because Ms Rooney had not put the matter to Ms Vardy before publishing her post.

Rebekah Vardy brought the claim seeking to vindicate her reputation, and the judge said that she was “genuinely offended” by Ms Rooney’s accusation and had “a degree of self-deception” about her role in passing information to the Sun. But the case has ended with the court finding that she did indeed do as Ms Rooney alleged.

Since bringing the case Ms Vardy has faced abuse which the judge described as “vile”, making the point that: “Nothing of which Mrs Vardy has been accused, nor any of the findings in this judgment, provide any justification or excuse for subjecting her or her family, or any other person involved in this case, to such vitriol.”

Ms Vardy has said she is “devastated” by the judgment and that the judge got it wrong. She also urged those who had been abusing her and her family to stop as the case is now over. Ms Rooney said that she is pleased with the decision, but that “it was not a case I ever sought or wanted”. She stated: “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.” Ms Rooney later posted on Instagram that she bore Ms Vardy no ill-will, but that the judgment made clear she was right.