Day two of the so-called Wagatha Christie trial is underway at the High Court, where footballers’ wives Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney are battling over an Instagram post from 2019.
Vardy launched a defamation suit after Rooney accused her of leaking stories from her private Instagram account to The Sun newspaper.
But while the two women are in the spotlight in court in London this week, one key player in the drama has been missing: Vardy’s agent and friend Caroline Watt.
Who is Caroline Watt?
According to the Daily Mail, Watt began managing Vardy in 2015. A former Virgin Atlantic flight attendant, Watt oversaw Vardy’s media interviews and brokered the deal for his appearance on I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here! in 2018.
Her husband, Steve Watt, “played for Chelsea and Swansea City before becoming manager of Hythe Town in Kent” until last November, the newspaper added. And, “before the pandemic, she regularly visited the Vardy home in Lincolnshire.
Watt was employed by talent agency The Front Row Partnership, but “left in 2019 to fly solo and kept Ms Vardy as a client,” The Independent said.
Why is it relevant to the case?
In February, Rooney tried to have Watt added to the lawsuit for allegedly breaching data protection laws and leaking private information to the media.
According to the lawyers, after Rooney publicly complained that someone was betraying her to the press, Watt sent a message to Vardy that read, “He was not someone she trusted. It was me.”
Rooney’s attorney, David Sherborne, also pointed to the “extraordinary explanations” offered by Vardy’s team about key evidence that has gone missing.
The court heard Vardy claimed he lost his messages while trying to forward them to his lawyer. Her husband – Leicester City and former England striker Jamie Vardy – said his messages were lost when his phone was hacked.
And “Watt said his phone accidentally fell into the North Sea when his boat was hit by a wave while on a Scottish holiday,” The Times reported.
So where is Caroline Watt?
Ultimately, the judge declined to add Watt to the case “on the basis that the application was filed too late and would delay the main libel suit for up to a year, which would be unfair to Vardy,” said said The Guardian.
According to The Independent, Watt “will not be called to testify orally during the trial as she is said to be in a ‘fragile condition’ and deemed ‘unfit’ to give evidence”.
Rooney’s lawyer Sherborne suggested in court yesterday that while Watt was responsible for leaking stories about Rooney to The Sun, ‘she was doing Rebekah’s dirty work as a hitman’.
He said: ‘It comes down to the two suspects, Caroline Watt and Ms Vardy herself. We say they were both in the same boat.
Vardy’s team admitted that Watt had gained access to their client’s Instagram account, but insisted: “Vardy doesn’t actually know what happened, she doesn’t know how this information got to the press, everything what she knows is what she did and she knows it wasn’t her.