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Rebekah Vardy has lost her defamation action against Colleen Rooney who accused her of leaking private information to the press.  

The most ill-advised defamation action since Oscar Wilde filed a libel suit against The Marquis of Queensbury whose 3rd son Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas had an affair with Wilde.


The judgment was given following a seven day trial of the libel claim brought by Rebekah Vardy   against Coleen Rooney.

The claimant and the defendant are well-known media and television personalities. They are both married to former England footballers Jamie Vardy and Wayne Rooney, respectively.

For a number of years stories from Colleen Rooney’s personal Instagram appeared in The Sun.


To ascertain who was leaking those stories Colleen Rooney set a trap by posting a series of false stories and limiting who had access to them.  When those false stories appeared in The Sun Colleen felt she had caught the culprit…..

Some brilliant detective work which inspired Phoebe Roberts to coin the phrase “Wagatha Christie”   

WAGatha Christie Phoebe Roberts

On 9 October 2019 Colleen Rooney posted the following on Twitter, Facebook and her public Instagram account:

“For a few years now someone who I trusted to follow me on my personal Instagram account has been consistently informing The SUN newspaper of my private posts and stories. There has been so much information given to them about me, my friends and my family – all without my permission or knowledge. After a long time of trying to figure out who it could be, for various reasons, I had a suspicion. To try and prove this, I came up with an idea. I blocked everyone from viewing my Instagram stories except ONE account. (Those on my private account must have been wondering why I haven’t had stories on there for a while.) Over the past five months I have posted a series of false stories to see if they made their way into the Sun newspaper. And you know what, they did! The story about gender selection in Mexico, the story about returning to TV and then the latest story about the basement flooding in my new house. It’s been tough keeping it to myself and not making any comment at all, especially when the stories have been leaked, however I had to. Now I know for certain which account / individual it’s come from. I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……….Rebekah Vardy’s account.”

Andrew Eborn on Saturday Live with Esther & Philip

Rebekah Vardy denied the accusation and sued Colleen Rooney for defamation.


Under the Defamation Act 2013 there are 4 elements that need to be established i) Publication of a statement ii) about the claimant iii) which is defamatory ie would tend to have a substantially adverse effect on the way that right-thinking members of society generally would treat the claimant and iv) is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant.  

It’s ……….Rebekah Vardy’s account

In a preliminary hearing on 19 November 2020: Vardy v Rooney [2020] EWHC 3156 (QB) Mr Justice Warby (as he then was) held that he single meaning of the phrase used by Colleen Rooney in her post was that “over a period of years Ms Vardy had regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower of Ms Rooney’s personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun newspaper of Ms Rooney’s private posts and stories, thereby making public without Ms Rooney’s permission a great deal of information about Ms Rooney, her friends and family which she did not want made public.”

Mr Justice Warby rejected Collen Rooney’s argument based mainly on the use of the word “account”, that the post bore a less serious meaning, observing that  “…The message was not that Ms Vardy might or might not be the wrongdoer. The reader was not being told that the ‘one person’ could be someone else, who had in some way gained access to Ms Vardy’s account and then misused it in order to misuse Ms Rooney’s personal information. If that had been the message, the ordinary reader would expect to see a good deal more than the word ‘account’. In the context of the post as a whole, that word would be read as just another way of identifying Rebekah Vardy as the wrongdoer”

The full hearing took place 10 – 17 May and 19 May 2022 and provoked a media frenzy as the private lives of the Rooneys and Vardys were laid bare.  There were also allegations that evidence had been deliberately destroyed including Rebekah Vardy’s agent, Caroline Watt’s phone being dropped in the sea…


Colleen Rooney conceded that her It’s ……….Rebekah Vardy’s account post was defamatory at common law and that the condition in s.1 of the Defamation Act 2013, that the “publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant” had been met. Colleen, however, relied on two statutory defences the defence of truth (pursuant to s.2 of the Defamation Act 2013) and the public interest defence (pursuant to s.4 of the Defamation Act 2013) The primary issue at trial was whether Colleen Rooney had proved that the single meaning asset out by Mr Justice Warby was substantially true.

In the damning 75 page Judgement of Mrs Justice Steyn issued at midday on 29th July 2022 Rebekah Vardy’s claim was dismissed. Colleen Rooney succeeded in establishing that the essence of the libel was substantially true.


Colleen Rooney’s alternative defence of publication in the public interest was rejected. The Court found that Colleen’s belief that publication was in the public interest was not reasonable in the circumstances, in particular as she did not give Rebekah Vardy the opportunity to respond to the allegation

Mrs Justice Steyn held that it was “likely” that Rebekah Vardy’s agent Caroline Watt passed information to The Sun.

Mrs Justice Steyn was damning in her review of Rebekah Vardy’s evidence. She found that it was necessary to treat Rebekah Vardy’s evidence with “very
considerable caution, determining that significant parts of her evidence were not
credible. There were many occasions when the Claimant’s evidence was manifestly
inconsistent with the contemporaneous documentary evidence, evasive or implausible”

Mrs Justice Steyn also found that Rebekah Vardy & her agent Caroline Watt had deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence.

This is a case which should never have been brought to Court.

 Colleen Rooney apparently tried to settle with Rebekah Vardy 4 times.


The damage to Rebekah Vardy is twofold. Firstly she will have to pay significant fees including her and the majority of Colleen Rooney’s legal fees in total estimated to be £3m.. Secondly Rebekah Vardy has suffered significant reputational damage. All parties have also had the most intimate details of their private lives laid bare.

Lessons should be learned. Not least be careful what you Tweet. Freedom of speech but not freedom from consequences.

In the end, the only real beneficiaries were the media who were gifted weeks and weeks of sensational headlines and the lawyers epitomised by the classic 18th century parody of a lawsuit by J. Bright which first accompanied a 1700s magazine article. It shows a plaintiff and defendant arguing over a cow while the lawyer milks the cow

It is interesting to note that having spent three years denying selling stories to The Sun following Judgement Rebekah Vardy sold her story to ………. The Sun.

Res Ipsa Loquitur   



Press Summary

Full Judgement

ANDREW EBORN Saturday Live with Esther & Philip

from 44.11



On 28th July 2022 Ben Oliver became the first defendant in UK to have his sentence broadcast live.  Ben Oliver had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his grandfather, David Oliver.

Cameras were allowed to film Judge Sarah Munro QC’s sentencing remarks including a summary of the case and detailed explanation of the aggravating and mitigation factors.

The Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab said:

“Opening up the courtroom to cameras to film the sentencing of some the country’s most serious offenders will improve transparency and reinforce confidence in the justice system. The public will now be able to see justice handed down, helping them understand better the complex decisions judges make.”

In this initial stage there will be no coverage of victims, witnesses or jurors. The broadcast will be limited to judges summarising the facts of the case in question and explaining the reasons for the sentence they have given the defendant.

This has been broadly welcomed by broadcasters and lawyers with some hoping that this will lead to wider coverage of the courts.

Whilst it is important that Justice is not just done but seen to be done it is also essential that the introduction of cameras does not interfere with the judicial process.

The arguments usually put forward against having cameras in court is that most media coverage is limited to sensational soundbites which loses the subtlety of legal arguments there is also the risk of lawyers grandstanding and victims and witnesses being intimidated.

There is also a danger of defendants being tried twice – in the criminal court and also in the court of public opinion.

The principle that defendants are innocent until proven guilty must not be undermined.

I debated the pros and cons with Chris Daw QC on Real Britain with Darren Grimes on 31st July.

from 11:47

Generally, I welcome the principle of transparency to assist understanding and increase confidence in the legal system. We should, however, proceed with caution ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place.


There are many injustices that do not get the media attention they deserve.

Andrew Eborn, International Lawyer & Broadcaster, is on a mission to right wrongs and shine a light on particular issues that battle often alone


It started as a mission of Body Positivity and turned into a PR disaster .

Spain’s Equality Ministry launched a creative summer campaign aiming to encourage women to go to the beach.

Spain’s Women’s Institute, a branch of the country’s Ministry of Equality, commissioned a poster featuring five women with different body types, ages & ethnicities.

Ione Belarra, the minister for social rights in Spain’s Socialist-led Podemos party pointed out “all bodies are beach bodies. All bodies are valid and we have the right to enjoy life as we are, without guilt or shame. Summer is for everyone!”

Empowering stuff… the trouble is it has now transpired that all necessary consents were not obtained either from the women featured or the photographers. Worse still, some of the woman featured say that their images have been manipulated including one who says her prosthetic leg was replaced with a real leg.

British model, influencer and amputee Sian Green-Lord, says she only found out about the campaign when friends messaged her about it. The illustration on the far left bears a striking resemblance to a photo she shared on Instagram in May, though her prosthetic leg has been altered.

“I don’t know how to even explain the amount of anger that I’m feeling right now. There’s one thing using my image without my permission. But there’s another thing editing my body,” she said in a video posted to her Instagram stories.

Nyome Nicholas-Williams, another British model, says the woman in the yellow bikini bears a striking resemblance to a photo she posted in May.

“Great idea but poor execution!” she posted on Instagram.

Andrew Eborn joined Nick Bright and cancer survivor Juliet FitzPatrick on Naga Munchetty’s show on Radio 5.

Andrew explained the legal position including the need to obtain permission from the owners of the copyright in the photographs and how it could be an infringement of moral rights to have edited the images.

Juliet FitzPatrick says that the woman who has had a mastectomy may have been based on her. What happened “seems to be totally against” the theme of the campaign, the 66-year-old from South East England told the BBC. “For me it is about how my body has been used and represented without my permission.”

Arte Mapache, has since tweeted a public apology for using the images

“After the justified controversy surrounding the image rights of the illustration, I have considered that the best way to alleviate the damage that may have arisen from my conduct is to distribute the benefits derived from this work in equal parts between the protagonists of the poster and buying the typography license” That fee is reported to be €4490.

Andrew Eborn explained that money was not the only issue. The distortion of the images as well as the hurt, anger and embarrassment need to be addressed. Andrew Eborn would like to help all involved find a positive solution & right the wrongs. … watch this space!



Andrew believes that there are many injustices which do not get the media attention they deserve, or indeed desperately need the oxygen of publicity for their cause.  This is where Andrew hopes to help.  By focusing on the injustice and assisting to promote, Andrew is keen to give an initial helping hand in any way he can make possible.

If there are particular issues you would like Andrew Eborn to investigate please provide information here so he may be able to assess if he can provide you with help.


Follow @AndrewEborn @OctopusTV

If there are particular issues you would like Andrew Eborn to investigate please provide information here so he may be able to assess if he can provide you with help.


Follow @AndrewEborn @OctopusTV


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