ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia reports on the latest twist in the Wagatha court case
The two women became locked in a dispute when Mrs Rooney accused Mrs Vardy of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the media in October 2019 after carrying out a months-long “sting operation”.
Mrs Rooney has 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.
Mrs Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, denies the accusations and is suing Mrs Rooney, the wife of former England star Wayne Rooney, for libel.
On Friday, Mrs Rooney's barrister David Sherborne claimed that Mrs Vardy believes Caroline Watt may have been the source of the stories.
In written submissions, he said that Mrs Vardy’s new statement “suggests Ms Watt was the source of the leak but claims that (Mrs Vardy) ‘did not authorise or condone her'”.
“It now appears…that she too ‘believes’ that Ms Watt is the source."
“The collapse of Mrs Vardy’s case over the last day has been remarkable," the barrister continued.
“As of the evening of April 27 2022, in an abrupt change of position to her pleaded case since the outset, Mrs Vardy appears now to accept Mrs Rooney’s case: that Caroline Watt, Mrs Vardy’s close friend and PR, was the conduit by which stories from the defendant’s private Instagram account were leaked to The Sun through her access via Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Mr Sherborne told the court: “It has become undeniably obvious that Ms Watt is the source and Mrs Vardy, true to form says ‘it wasn’t me, I didn’t realise and I didn’t know anything about what was going on’.”
For expert analysis and insight on the biggest stories listen to our podcast to find out What You Need To Know
However, Hugh Tomlinson, representing Rebekah Vardy, told the court that his client's new witness statement did not contain "any change whatever in the pleaded case".
He added: "We simply don't know what the true position is in relation to Ms Watt.
"She's not communicating with anybody on our side and we don't know what her position is."
In his written arguments, Mr Tomlinson said there had “been important developments that have occurred” since Mrs Vardy gave her first written statement, but did not explain what they were.
The court previously heard that Ms Watt’s phone had “regrettably” fallen into the North Sea before further information could be extracted from it for the case.
Ms Watt had been expected to give evidence at the upcoming trial, however, the High Court was told she was “not fit” to give oral evidence at a hearing earlier this month.
Friday’s hearing will include bids from Mrs Rooney’s lawyers for information from News Group Newspapers, the publisher of The Sun newspaper.
The hearing before Mrs Justice Steyn is due to finish on Friday afternoon, with a judgment expected at a later date.