Rebekah Vardy attempted to sell a story about the arrest of footballer Danny Drinkwater to the Sun newspaper – only to be turned down because the tabloid had already been leaked the story by an individual at the police station, el tribunal superior ha escuchado.
The claim emerged as part of Vardy’s ongoing “Wagatha Christie” libel battle against fellow footballer’s wife Coleen Rooney, who publicly accused Vardy of leaking her private information to the tabloid.
Drinkwater, a former teammate of Vardy’s husband, jamie vardy, at Leicester City, was arrested for drink-driving after crashing his Range Rover in early 2019. Before the incident became public Vardy was already sending WhatsApp messages to her agent, Caroline Watt, to tell her what had happened and suggest they sell the story.
Vardy told her agent: “Story … Danny Drinkwater arrested [...] Crashed his car drunk with 2 girls in it … both in hospital one with broken ribs x.”
After clarifying a few details about the car and the location, Vardy added: “I want paying for this x.”
Within two minutes Watt said she had sent the story to Sun journalist Andy Halls, whom she said “replied immediately” that the tabloid already knew because “someone leaked it from police station”.
Drinkwater was later banned from driving for almost two years.
The disclosure is the latest in a series of messages that have been made public as part of the ongoing legal case, which is due to go to a week-long trial at the start of May.
Rooney, the wife of former England footballer Wayne Rooney, argues that Vardy systematically leaked information to the Sun and had extensive contact with its journalists. The libel case will hinge on whether Rooney can prove that it was Vardy who was personally responsible for leaking any stories from her private Instagram to the Sun.
In a ruling on Thursday, Mrs Justice Steyn handed a partial victory to Vardy’s legal team, ordering the removal of certain elements of Rooney’s evidence.
Among the claims deleted from Rooney’s witness statement was a section which alleged Vardy “was also actively participating in leaking private information about other individuals to the Sun”.
The judge also turned down a request by Rooney’s lawyers to search the phones of a number of Sun journalists for potential communications with Vardy and Watt. She branded this a “fishing expedition” but made an exception for details of messages with Halls, who was involved in some of the disputed stories. The court heard that in 2019 Halls declared that Vardy “has never provided any story or information to me”.
WhatsApp messages disclosed as part of the legal filings suggest Vardy and Watt regularly discussed journalists at the Sun.
At one point Vardy says she is concerned that Rooney has blocked her on Instagram after stories appeared in the media.
En respuesta, the agent says “I wouldn’t tell anyone but the Sun”, and Rooney can’t “fucking prove anything though and if she wants to think that then fuck her”.
Watt said she had been in touch with Halls about the incident: “I messaged him and he said absolutely not and he never would say what his source was.”
En noviembre 2018 Watt also told Vardy to look out for Sun celebrity journalist Amy Brookbanks at an event and “make a point of saying hello” because the reporter “always writes nice stories, does whatever I ask her and gets stories changed that she hasn’t even written”.
Vardy no longer intends to call Watt as a witness at the trial, saying the agent is suffering from ill health.
A pesar de esto, Watt has still received substantial attention after it was disclosed in a pre-trial hearing that she accidentally dropped her phone in the North Sea after a request was made to search it.
Vardy has also struggled to access her own WhatsApp messages after her IT expert lost the password to her backup files.