By William Janes, PA
Some WhatsApp messages sent by Rebekah Vardy’s agent are not part of the footballer’s wife’s libel claim because the agent’s phone is in “Davy Jones’ locker” after falling into the North Sea, the High Court in London has been told.
On the third day of the high-profile libel claim between Mrs Vardy and Coleen Rooney, the court heard about some of the alleged issues with disclosure – including that Mrs Vardy’s agent lost her phone after a judge said it should be searched.
Mrs Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne said Caroline Watt was “filming the coastline” while on a boat trip in Scotland and dropped her phone, with Ms Watt “unable to retrieve it”.
Mr Sherborne said on Thursday it was a “shame” that messages between journalists – who had allegedly been leaked stories – and Ms Watt were “lying at the bottom of the sea in Davy Jones’ locker”.
Ms Vardy replied: “Who is Davy Jones?”
Mrs Justice Steyn told her the reference to Davy Jones’ locker “just means the bottom of the sea”.
Mr Sherborne later said four months passed between Ms Watt losing her phone and Mrs Rooney’s solicitors being informed.
Mrs Vardy, 40, said she did not know why there was a delay.
Mr Sherborne has repeatedly claimed that disclosure linked to Mrs Vardy in the legal dispute had been hit by “a series of unfortunate events”.
Mrs Vardy told the court some messages were deleted from WhatsApp as she tried to export them.
Mr Sherborne said: “You say that as a result of that process, all of the messages on your phone, all the WhatsApp messages on your phone between you and Ms Watt, were deleted, were lost.
“You know that your expert has described that as somewhat surprising and our expert indicates that someone has manually deleted them from the phone.
“No-one has said to you that Mrs Rooney’s expert says that there is no possible explanation for how that happened in any other way than someone manually – a human – deleting those messages on the phone?”
The TV personality repeatedly denied deleting messages.
Mrs Vardy later said she “can neither confirm nor deny” what happened, suggesting she may have switched phones during a nine-month period where there are missing messages.