Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy’s phone may be inspected as part of his wife Rebekah’s libel case against Coleen Rooney, a judge at the High Court has ruled.
At a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, the court heard both women will be using experts to analyse Instagram data on relevant devices ahead of a trial.
Rooney, the wife of former England star Wayne, revealed her allegations on social media in 2019 following a months-long “sting operation” on Instagram that quickly saw her dubbed “Wagatha Christie”.
During the latest hearing, the court heard experts will be analysing data as part of the case.
However, Vardy and Rooney have not agreed on the scope of which devices, including phones, tablets or computers, should be included, the court was told.
At a previous hearing, it emerged that other people had had access to Vardy’s Instagram account, including her assistant Caroline Watt, her husband, and his social media manager.
Sara Mansoori, for Vardy, said her legal team was “taking steps” to make the third-party Instagram data available for the court and denied any secrecy.
In written arguments, Rooney’s barrister John Samson said: “As well as the connections between private content on (Mrs Rooney’s) Instagram account and articles in The Sun newspaper, the case will turn on the length of time, regularity and frequency of the access to the defendant’s Instagram account made from accounts connected to the claimant.
“This data is wider and deeper than the data available on individual personal devices.”
Instagram experts should be allowed to access data from other devices that had used Vardy’s account, which could include her husband’s phone or computer, Judge Roger Eastman concluded.
“In order for the expert to explore what has gone on… they need to have access to more than just the personal devices of Mrs Vardy and Mrs Rooney,” he said. “The outreach and depth with which Instagram matters circulate, and can be circulated, is rather wider than that.”
Judge Eastman later indicated the full trial in the case will take place next year, saying: “I think it is a good idea to get this over with as soon as possible.”
The row between the two women has been ongoing since October 2019, when Rooney claimed she had planted three fake stories about herself on her personal Instagram account, but made them visible only to Vardy.
She alleged these false stories – about travelling to Mexico to find out about gender selection, making a return to TV, and the basement flooding at her new house – had all been shared with The Sun newspaper.