By PA High Court staff
Coleen Rooney’s former PR representative told a journalist from The Sun that a story about her client going to a gender selection clinic in Mexico was “bonkers”.
Rachel Monk, daughter of Mrs Rooney’s present PR representative Ian Monk, said she used to work for her father’s agency and worked with Mrs Rooney from about 2005.
Ms Monk said in a witness statement prepared as part of the high-profile libel trial at the High Court in London that she spoke to a showbiz journalist at The Sun called Ellie Henman in August 2019 and was told a story would be running about Mrs Rooney going to Mexico for gender selection.
Ms Monk said: “My immediate reaction to hearing of the gender selection story was that it sounded untrue.
“I think I described it to Ellie as ‘bonkers’.
“By this point I had worked with Coleen for around 10 years and got to know her well enough to have a feel for what did and didn’t fit with who Coleen was.
“I had listened or read Coleen’s response to countless questions in media interviews about how she was happy with her family all being boys.
“I also knew that Coleen was Catholic and so gender selection just didn’t sit right at all.
“I ended the call with Ellie by agreeing to get in touch with Coleen to see if she wanted to make any comment on the story.
“I raised the topic with Coleen on WhatsApp and she responded to say ‘omg omg omg’.
“I was a bit taken aback by Coleen’s immediate response and asked ‘are they right?’.
“A few hours later, I took a screenshot of an email I received from Ellie which referenced the gender selection story and sent it to Coleen.
“Coleen then said ‘Hi Rach, that’s me, give me a call’.
“This was likely to have been a reference to the fact that Coleen had just tried to call me from a withheld number.
“I then spoke with Coleen about the gender selection story, but she wasn’t willing to provide any comment.
“I remember Coleen’s response being really quite tepid which again took me by surprise given how outlandish the proposed story seemed to me to be.
“Coleen didn’t reference her Instagram, or anything about a fabrication or fake story, or about any kind of plan to catch anyone out, nor did she mention Rebekah Vardy.
“Coleen and I agreed that I would go back to Ellie and say that I was unable to get in touch with Coleen and that there was no comment to make.
“I went back to Ellie in a call and informed her that there was no comment from Coleen.
“I then spoke with Ellie off the record and said to her that, from my own perspective having known Coleen for such a long time, I thought there was absolutely no chance of there being any truth in this gender selection story.
“I said to her that I just couldn’t believe or even imagine it being true.
“I did this more of a heads up off the record to Ellie because, even though there was nothing on the record, I saw no need for The Sun to run what I believed, from my knowledge of Coleen, to be an inaccurate story.
“Also because Ellie was a trusted and straight professional (contact) of mine, I didn’t want her to have her name on what I believed to be an inaccurate and ridiculous story.
“However, Ellie replied and told me that The Sun would be running with the gender selection story because ‘they had a screenshot’ which confirmed their source.
“I was absolutely gobsmacked but had nothing further to add and we ended the call.”