Rebekah Vardy ‘faced abuse and ridicule’ including Madeleine McCann claims

Rebekah Vardy was subjected to false allegations that she was involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann after Coleen Rooney's social media claims, court documents have said.

Mrs Rooney, 34, was dubbed "Wagatha Christie" on social media for her apparent sleuthing work after she claimed to have posted false stories on her Instagram and narrowed the audience to just Mrs Vardy's profile to see if they were leaked to The Sun.

The wife of former England star Wayne Rooney said she planted three stories about her travelling to Mexico to "see what this gender selection is all about", returning to TV, and the basement flooding in her new house.

The message posted on Twitter last October detailed her alleged findings, concluding: "It's ................ Rebekah Vardy's account."

Fellow footballer's wife Mrs Vardy, 38, denied the accusations and launched a libel claim in response.

31 PHOTOS
Rebekah Vardy
See Gallery
Rebekah Vardy
Rebekah Vardy in the stands ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018, round of 16 match at the Spartak Stadium, Moscow.
Rebekah Vardy attending the National Television Awards 2019 held at the O2 Arena, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Rebekah Vardy during the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester.
Jamie Vardy and Rebekah Vardy attending the Pride of Sport Awards 2018 at the Grosvenor House hotel, London
Rebekah Vardy attending the National Television Awards 2019 held at the O2 Arena, London.
Rebekah Vardy, wife of England's Jamie Vardy during the FIFA World Cup third place play-off match at Saint Petersburg Stadium.
Rebekah Vardy attending the TV Choice Awards 2018 held at The Dorchester, Park Lane, London. Picture credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Dennis Wise and Rebekah Vardy attending the TV Choice Awards 2018 held at The Dorchester, Park Lane, London. Picture credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Rebekah Vardy (left), wife of England's Jamie Vardy and Fern Hawkins, girlfriend of England's Harry Maguire in the stands before the FIFA World Cup third place play-off match at Saint Petersburg Stadium.
Rebekah Vardy, wife of Jamie Vardy before the FIFA World Cup, Semi Final match at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.
Rebekah Vardy, wife of Jamie Vardy prior to the FIFA World Cup, Quarter Final match at the Samara Stadium.
Rebekah Vardy in the stands ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018, round of 16 match at the Spartak Stadium, Moscow.
Rebekah Vardy in the stands ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018, round of 16 match at the Spartak Stadium, Moscow.
Rebekah Vardy in the stands ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018, round of 16 match at the Spartak Stadium, Moscow.
Megan Davison, girlfriend of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (left) Annie Kilner, girlfriend of England's Kyle Walker (centre) and Rebekah Vardy, wife of England's Jamie Vardy during the FIFA World Cup Group G match at Kaliningrad Stadium.
Annie Kilner, girlfriend of England's Kyle Walker (left) and Rebekah Vardy, wife of England's Jamie Vardy during the FIFA World Cup Group G match at Kaliningrad Stadium.
Rebekah Vardy, wife of England's Jamie Vardy, in the stands during the FIFA World Cup Group G match at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY JUNE 11 EDITORIAL USE ONLY Rebekah Vardy becomes BetBright's official Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after receiving a crash course from former Premier League referee Mark Halsey ahead of the World Cup, at Leicester City Football Club Youth Academy in Leicester.
Rebekah Vardy attending the 2018 TRIC Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
Rebekah Vardy attending the National Television Awards 2018 held at the O2, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Rebekah Vardy attending the National Television Awards 2018 held at the O2, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Rebekah Vardy (right) wife of Jamie Vardy in the stands
Jamie Vardy and Rebekah Vardy attending The Pride of Britain Awards 2017, at Grosvenor House, Park Street, London. Picture Date: Monday 30 October. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy (second right) and wife Rebekah watch from the stands during the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester.
Jamie Vardy and Rebekah Vardy during the red carpet arrivals for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016 at The Vox at Resorts World Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Rebekah Vardy, wife of England's Jamie Vardy after the Round of 16 match at Stade de Nice, Nice, France.
Rebekah Vardy, wife of England's Jamie Vardy in the stands before the Round of 16 match at Stade de Nice, Nice, France.
England's Jamie Vardy kisses his wife Rebekah Vardy in the stands following the Round of 16 match at Stade de Nice, Nice, France.
England's Jamie Vardy kisses wife Rebekah (centre) following the UEFA Euro 2016, Group B match at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Etienne.
Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy (top) wife of England's Jamie Vardy in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group B match at the Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis, Lens.
Rebekah Vardy wife of England's Jamie Vardy in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group B match at the Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis, Lens.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Mrs Vardy's written claim, filed in June, detailed the "very high levels of public abuse and ridicule" against her and its impact.

Her barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC wrote that she felt suicidal, took three trips to hospital due to her anxiety, and worried about either going into early labour or losing her baby due to the stress.

Mr Tomlinson said: "The claimant has suffered extreme distress, hurt, anxiety and embarrassment as a result of the publication of the post and the events which followed.

"The abuse that followed the post made the claimant feel suicidal. She suffered from severe panic attacks and anxiety which manifested in being scared to leave her house."

Rebekah Vardy libel proceedings
Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Rebekah Vardy, judge Mr Justice Warby and David Sherborne, representing Coleen Rooney, at the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London, during the first hearing in Mrs Vardy's High Court libel claim against Mrs Rooney.(Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The filing detailed some of the ways Mrs Rooney's post was reported and repeated on social media.

Following a tweet from Donald Trump, some users joked that Mrs Vardy was the new leader of the so-called Islamic State terror group, while others later said she was involved in the disappearance of Madeline McCann.

Mr Tomlinson added: "Following the police announcing that a new suspect had been identified in the disappearance of Madeline McCann, the claimant (Mrs Vardy) was the subject of a number of highly distressing publications on Twitter alleging she was the suspect."

29 PHOTOS
Coleen Rooney
See Gallery
Coleen Rooney
Cheryl Tweedy (L), girlfriend of England's Ashley Cole, sits in the stands with Victoria Beckham (R), wife of England's David Beckham, and Coleen McLoughlin (C Top), girlfriend of England's Wayne Rooney, before Trinidad and Tobago's Group B World Cup 2006 soccer match against England in Nuremberg June 15, 2006. FIFA RESTRICTION - NO MOBILE USE REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY)
Coleen McLoughlin, girlfriend of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, holds down her dress before presenting the best dressed racegoer award during the Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, northern England April 8, 2006. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Coleen McLoughlin, girlfriend of Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney, arrives at the world premiere of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" at the Royal Albert Hall in central London December 7, 2005. REUTERS/Paul Hackett
Coleen McLoughlin, girlfriend of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, smiles before presenting the best dressed racegoer award during the Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, northern England April 8, 2006. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Manchester United and England player Wayne Rooney (C) walks with his girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin (L) to his seat before Roy Keane's testimonial soccer match between Manchester United and Celtic at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England May 9, 2006. REUTERS/David Moir
British footballer Wayne Rooney and girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin arrive for a pre-World Cup party at the Herfordshire home of David and Victoria Beckham in southern England May 21, 2006. WORLD CUP 2006 PREVIEW REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Coleen McLoughlin, the partner of England soccer player Wayne Rooney, arrives at Frankfurt International Airport, June 9 2006. England play Paraguay in their first game of the World Cup on Saturday. WORLD CUP 2006 PREVIEW. REUTERS/Toby Melville (GERMANY)
Wayne Rooney's fiancee Coleen McLoughlin sits in the stands before the start of the Group B World Cup 2006 soccer match between England and Paraguay in Frankfurt June 10, 2006. FIFA RESTRICTION - NO MOBILE USE (GERMANY) REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Actor Jimmy Fallon (L) watches as Manchester United player Wayne Rooney (C) smiles as he is introduced to the crowd at new York's Madison Square Garden during the Boston Celtics game with the New York Knicks, December 11, 2006. His girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin (R) sits with him. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES)
Coleen McLoughlin, fiancee of soccer player Wayne Rooney, arrives on the course for ladies day on the second day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, northern England, April 4, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN)
Coleen McLoughlin, fiancee of soccer player Wayne Rooney, arrives on the course for ladies day on the second day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, northern England, April 4, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN)
Manchester United soccer player Wayne Rooney and fiancee Coleen McLoughlin watch the Liverpool Sound concert at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, northern England, June 1, 2008. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN)
Coleen Rooney (R), wife of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, points next to her mother Colette McLoughlin during the final day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, northern England April 4, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN SPORT HORSE RACING ENTERTAINMENT)
Manchester United's soccer player Wayne Rooney (4th R) carries his newborn son Kai as he leaves Liverpool Women's Hospital with wife Coleen (2nd L), in Liverpool, northern England November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN SOCIETY SPORT SOCCER ENTERTAINMENT)
Horse Racing - Aintree Grand National Meeting - Aintree Racecourse - 9/4/10 Coleen Rooney at Aintree during ladies day Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Carl Recine
Manchester United soccer star Wayne Rooney walks with his wife Coleen backstage on the third day of the Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset June 24, 2011. Irish rockers U2 face first-night nerves and the prospect of small protests as they prepare to make their Glastonbury debut on Friday at one of the world's biggest music festivals. Tens of thousands of fans have descended on the site, a dairy farm in picturesque southwest England, braving fields of cloying mud caused by recent rain to catch a glimpse of their favourite acts on dozens of stages. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY)
Football - Manchester United v Blackpool Barclays Premier League - Old Trafford - 10/11 - 22/5/11 Manchester United celebrate winning the Premier League as Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen kiss after the match Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Carl Recine Livepic NO ONLINE/INTERNET USE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE +44 (0) 207 864 9000.
Coleen Rooney, wife of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, and son Kai attend the third day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, northern England April 6, 2013. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT HORSE RACING SOCIETY SOCCER)
Football - Manchester United v Swansea City - Barclays Premier League - Old Trafford - 12/5/13 Manchester United's Wayne Rooney celebrates with his son Kai and wife Coleen at full time Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Jason Cairnduff Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 7/7/13 Men's Singles - Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and wife Coleen in the stands before the start of the final Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Couldridge Livepic
Football - England v Slovenia - UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Group E - Wembley Stadium, London, England - 15/11/14 Wife of England's Wayne Rooney, Coleen Rooney watches on before the game with son Klay Mandatory Credit: Action Images / John Sibley Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Football - San Marino v England - UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Group E - Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino - 5/9/15 Wife of England's Wayne Rooney, Coleen Rooney and son Kai (2nd R) before the match Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Horse Racing - Crabbie's Grand National Festival - Aintree Racecourse - 7/4/16 Wayne Rooney's wife Coleen Rooney before the races Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Football Soccer - England v Wales - EURO 2016 - Group B - Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens, France - 16/6/16 Wife of England's Wayne Rooney, Coleen with their son before the game REUTERS/Lee Smith Livepic
Britain Football Soccer - Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League - Old Trafford - 27/11/16 Actress Julia Roberts with Coleen Rooney on the pitch at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton vs Crystal Palace - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - February 10, 2018 Wife of Everton's Wayne Rooney, Coleen Rooney in the stands before the match Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton vs Southampton - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - May 5, 2018 Everton's Wayne Rooney with wife Coleen Rooney and their children REUTERS/Andrew Yates EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Britain Football Soccer - Manchester United v Crystal Palace - Premier League - Old Trafford - 21/5/17 Wife of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, Coleen Rooney after the match Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.
Coleen Rooney arrives for the Grand National Day of the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Social media users also posted that Mrs Vardy was involved in a potential hack of the mobile video-conferencing app Houseparty in March this year.

The dramatic ending to Mrs Rooney's post was also parodied on social media, including on the account of Jeremy Corbyn, then-leader of the Labour Party.

"Now I know for certain which individual is selling off our NHS. It's ............. Boris Johnson," Mr Corbyn wrote on the day of last year's general election.

Mrs Vardy's husband Jamie, a Leicester City striker, was also targeted.

Mr Tomlinson wrote: "Opposition supporters chanted taunts directed at him in the weeks following the publication of the post, including 'your wife is a grass' and 'Becky Vardy's a grass'.

"Many of the chants continued for up to five minutes and were repeated several times throughout the 90-minute match."

Mrs Vardy's lawyers argue that Mrs Rooney's post created a "highly damaging, false and permanent 'digital footprint'" about her that has since become embedded in public discourse and continues to affect her.

Mr Tomlinson added: "The claimant never knows when or where she might be faced with the allegation or reference to the post which causes her great anxiety and upset."

Mrs Rooney has denied any wrongdoing.

'Such abuse was not foreseeable'

In her written defence filed in October, Mrs Rooney's lawyers argued her post was "entirely legitimate and justified" and said the stories had been derived from Mrs Vardy's account, rather than her directly.

David Sherborne, representing Mrs Rooney, said she denied liability for the abuse Mrs Vardy received from third parties, writing: "Such abuse was not foreseeable and is not the responsibility of the defendant."

According to the document, Mrs Rooney became suspicious after details of a car crash were shared with The Sun in early 2019, using details taken from a post on her private Instagram account.

Mrs Rooney's lawyers also said Mrs Vardy had had an "exceptionally close relationship" with The Sun and some of its journalists for the purposes of promoting herself or making money from her public profile.

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS