LONDON-Rebekah Vardy has lost her High Court libel battle with Coleen Rooney in the so-called Wagatha Christie trial. Mrs Rooney, the wife of former England footballer Wayne Rooney, conducted a sting operation in 2019, accusing Mrs Vardy online of leaking private stories about her to The Sun. Mrs Vardy has always denied she passed information to the newspaper. But on Saturday, Mrs Justice Steyn ruled Mrs Rooney’s accusation was “substantially true”. Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, said in a statement she was “extremely sad and disappointed” at the judge’s decision. “It is not the result that I had expected, nor believe was just. I brought this action to vindicate my reputation and am devastated by the judge’s finding... as for the rest of her judgement, she got it wrong and this is something I cannot accept.” She also said, “Please can the people who have been abusing me and my family now stop. The case is over.”

Mrs Rooney said she was “pleased” the ruling had gone in her favour, adding “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.” She added on Instagram, “Although I bear Mrs Vardy no ill will, today’s judgement makes clear I was right in what I said on my Instagram post.”

The judge said of Mrs Vardy that “significant parts of her evidence were not credible”, while she added: “In my judgement, Ms Rooney was an honest and reliable witness.”

Mrs Justice Steyn said it was “likely” that Mrs Vardy’s agent at the time, Caroline Watt, “undertook the direct act” of passing information to The Sun.

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

The judge found that Mrs Vardy had been “directing Ms Watt to the private Instagram account, sending her screenshots of Mrs Rooney’s posts, drawing attention to items of potential interest to the press, and answering additional queries raised by the press via Ms Watt”.

She also pointed out that “there were many occasions” when Mrs Vardy’s evidence “was manifestly inconsistent” with other evidence, and “evasive or implausible”.

During the case, the court heard that Ms Watt’s phone had fallen into the North Sea while she was filming the Scottish coastline in August 2021 - so it could not be submitted as evidence.

But the judge said the likelihood that the loss of the phone was accidental was “slim”.

“In my judgement, it is likely that Ms Vardy deliberately deleted her WhatsApp chat with Ms Watt, and that Ms Watt deliberately dropped her phone in the sea,” she said.

She also said: “I have found that Ms Vardy and Ms Watt have deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence.”