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See you in COURT! Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy will take their ‘Wagatha Christie’ war to trial

Coleen Rooney today blasted Rebekah Vardy’s £900,000 estimated legal costs ‘grotesque’ in court as their bitter Wagatha Christie libel battle rumbles on.

Rebekah, 39, launched her high-stakes High Court libel action after Coleen, 34, accused her in an October 2019 Instagram post of being the source of leaks to the media on stories about her.

The court heard how peace talks between the warring women had broken down during mediation and the case was expected to go to a full trial, costing the loser an estimated £1.5million.

Today’s preliminary hearing heard that both women should try and settle ‘if they can’ as costs in legal fees continue to spiral.

If the case does go to a trial Rebekah’s budget to fight the case is ‘£897,000, the estimated costs of which are £465,842.

This compares to Coleen’ estimated costs in her cost budget of £402,312.

Coleen described Rebekah’s budget as ‘grotesque’, while her lawyer said, ‘this has got way out of hand’.

Coleen Rooney covered up in a black hooded zip-up jacket while shopping for food at her local Waitrose supermarket this morning 

Rebekah, 38, (seen in a recent Instagram post)launched her high-stakes High Court libel action after Coleen, 34 accused her in an October 2019 Instagram post of being the source of leaks to the media on stories about her

Rebekah, 38, (seen in a recent Instagram post)launched her high-stakes High Court libel action after Coleen, 34 accused her in an October 2019 Instagram post of being the source of leaks to the media on stories about her

Coleen’s barrister John Samson asked the court to ‘reject the claimant’s cost budget and ask them to review it because, in the words of my lay client, it is grotesque’.

Mr Samson told Judge Roger Eastman that the sums involved were ‘huge’, telling the court that ‘the claimant’s budget to date, including incurred costs, is double that of the defendant’. 

Rebekah’s barrister Sara Mansoori said her client’s £897,000 budget ‘reflects the complexity, scope and scale of the legal and factual issues’.

She added: ‘Mrs Vardy’s cost budget reflects the very serious nature of the highly damaging defamatory allegation made against her – which continues to be published by Mrs Rooney.

‘It has caused enormous distress to Mrs Vardy and led to her being targeted by hostile and abusive online messages, as well as causing extreme upset and anxiety to members of her family.

‘It was necessary to take steps to seek to understand the allegations made by Mrs Rooney, which involved technical expertise, as well as to seek to resolve the dispute.

‘Regrettably this was not possible and further costs have been incurred in pursuing the claim to this stage.’

The judge said both women’s legal budgets were ‘extraordinarily large’ and asked them to try to settle the case.

He also gave the parties until June to file revised cost budgets.

Ms Mansoori also told the court that her client was going to apply to strike out parts of Coleen’s defence, unless they were withdrawn.

She said Coleen’s written defence raises ‘a huge number of additional matters’, including allegations that Rebekah has ‘developed and maintained exceptionally close relationships with a number of journalists over the years, for self-promotion, financial reward or positive news coverage’.

She said those allegations did not ‘relate to the defamatory allegations in issue’, and should be removed from Coleen’s defence.

Coleen was seen stepping out in Alderley Edge in Cheshire prior to today's court hearing

 Coleen was seen stepping out in Alderley Edge in Cheshire prior to today’s court hearing 

The court also heard that both women wanted to instruct experts to give evidence on ‘Instagram and how it operates’, including how posts can be made public or private and how followers are blocked on the platform.

Rebekah sued her WAG rival last June, claiming she ‘suffered extreme distress, hurt, anxiety and embarrassment as a result of the publication of the post and the events which followed’.

In her written case, Rebekah’s lawyers said the abuse she received made her ‘feel suicidal’, adding: ‘She suffered from severe panic attacks and anxiety which manifested in being scared to leave her house.’

She claimed her husband Jamie was targeted during football matches, with opposition fans chanting ‘your wife is a grass’ for up to five minutes at a time.

But Mrs Rooney’s lawyers said the post was ‘entirely legitimate and justified’ and referred to Rebekah’s ‘exceptionally close relationship’ with The Sun and some of its journalists.

An attempt at mediation, to try to resolve the case without a trial, took place earlier this year, the court heard on Tuesday.

MailOnline revealed Coleen’s 11th-hour peace offer to Rebekah, suggesting that if Rebekah accepted her Instagram account was the source of leaked stories to the press, then Coleen would accept her assurances that she personally knew nothing about the leaks.

The figures put into court by lawyers acting for the warring parties underline the high stakes in the battle of the wags – as well as highlighting the eye-watering fees charged by defamation lawyers. 

Vardy and Rooney celebrate England's win against Wales at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in France

Vardy and Rooney celebrate England’s win against Wales at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in France

Sources have repeatedly indicated that Coleen has always found the cost of litigation ‘grotesque’ in the current circumstances, believing the money could be better spent elsewhere. 

The long-running feud between the high-profile WAGS erupted after Coleen revealed that she had set a trap to see who was responsible for the leaks, which earned her the nickname ‘Wagatha Christie’.

Soon after, Rebekah took to social media to deny being the leaker after Coleen’s post went viral.

Last February, Rebekah broke down on ITV’s Loose Women, saying the feud was ‘one of the worst things I had to deal with apart from being abused when I was younger’.

Last June, it emerged that Rebekah had launched a case to sue Coleen for £1 million.

In October 2020, Coleen ‘doubled down’ by filing her 55-page defence and sharing images of the Instagram posts she alleged Rebekah leaked.

The following month, Rebekah won the first round of her High Court libel battle at the ‘meanings hearing’

Earlier this month, the pair attended a court-ordered mediation session on Zoom, their first meeting for years.

Zoom proceedings began with both sides reading out a statement and then breaking off into separate virtual rooms as the mediator spoke to them and their legal representatives independently.

Former columnist Coleen reportedly tried to reach out to brunette Rebekah after another round of failed talks to avoid a costly legal battle.

However, it’s thought that she saw the mediation as a ‘waste of time’ as TV star Becky continues to demand she apologise for her fierce accusation. 

How Wagatha Christie row exploded from one Instagram post… to the High Court

October 9, 2019: Coleen Rooney accuses Rebekah Vardy of ‘leaking stories about her’ to The Sun. 

Coleen famously wrote: ‘I have saved and screenshotted all the original stories which clearly show just one person has viewed them. It’s ……………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.’ 

October 9, 2019: Rebekah takes to her social media to deny being the leaker as Coleen’s post goes viral, while a Sun spokesman refuses to comment on the source of their stories.  

February 13, 2020: Rebekah breaks down on ITV’s Loose Women, saying the spat was ‘one of the worst things I had to deal with apart from being abused when I was younger’. 

June 22, 2020: It emerges that Rebekah has launched a case to sue Coleen for £1m. 

October 02, 2020: Coleen files her 55-page defence and shares images of the Instagram posts she alleges Rebekah leaked. 

November 20, 2020 Rebekah wins the first round of her High Court libel battle.   

January 18, 2021: Reporters emerge that the pair will be holding a mediation session over Zoom. 

February 4: The pair attend the mediation session, in their first meeting for years. 

March 16: Mediation fails, meaning the case will go to a full trial some time before next April.  


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