LONDON - Rebekah Vardy is a “highly unreliable witness”, Coleen Rooney’s lawyer has told the High Court on the final day of the libel trial. David Sherborne, representing Mrs Rooney, told the court Mrs Vardy lied under oath and deleted evidence. Mrs Vardy walked out of the court during Sherborne’s comments. She is suing Mrs Rooney for libel for alleging in an online post that she had leaked private stories about her to the Sun, which Mrs Vardy denies. He said Mrs Vardy had given “implausible, throwaway explanations” and was “lacking in candour.” “We say Mrs Vardy was a highly unreliable witness and her evidence should be treated with caution,” he continued. Sherborne added that the case was “extraordinary” because of the “tenacity” of Mrs Vardy in “backtracking on her admissions of leaks” and the “documentary evidence that flatly contradicts” her account. He also spoke about “the extent to which it plainly demonstrates her consistent practice of secretly leaking information to the press”. The lawyer told Mrs Justice Steyn that the loss of “crucial” documents by Mrs Vardy was deliberate, adding: “The only plausible explanation is manual deletion by the claimant herself.”

Mrs Rooney and her husband, the ex footballer Wayne, did not attend the court. Her barrister began by explaining to the judge that they had a “long-standing travel arrangement” with their children booked for Thursday. The trial has over-run by a day and was supposed to have concluded a day earlier.

 

He passed on their”individual apologies”, adding “that they intend no disrespect to the court”. The judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, said: “I don’t take offence”. Mr Sherborne then reiterated that his client was defending herself on the basis of truth and public interest.

The court heard last week how WhatsApp messages between Mrs Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt and a Sun newspaper journalist had gone missing when her phone fell into the North Sea, but that Ms Watt had not testified due to being deemed not well enough.

Sherborne argued that given the “hand-in-glove” relationship between Ms Watt and Mrs Vardy, having the case take place minus her agent was “like Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark”.

Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is the main character in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.

Noting how other key individuals, including Sun journalists, had not given evidence, Mr Sherborne added: “Hamlet not just without the prince, but all the rest of the royal court.”