A courtroom burst into laughter after a High Court judge explained what “Davy Jones’ locker” meant to Rebekah Vardy during her libel trial with fellow footballer’s wife Coleen Rooney.
David Sherborne, who is representing the wife of former England captain Wayne Rooney, mentioned a phone that had fallen into the North Sea shortly after a judge ordered its search during his cross-examination of Ms Vardy on Thursday.
The High Court heard how some WhatsApp messages sent by Ms Vardy’s agent were not part of the libel claim because of this.
Mr Sherborne said agent Caroline Watt was “filming the coastline” while on a boat trip in Scotland and dropped her phone, leaving her “unable to retrieve it”.
He told the court 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 was a figure of speech which “just means the bottom of the sea”.
Mr Sherborne later noted four months passed between Ms Watt losing her phone and Mrs Rooney’s solicitors being informed.
Ms Vardy, who is married to Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, said she did not know why there was a delay.
Mr Sherborne has repeatedly noted that disclosure linked to Mr Vardy in the legal dispute had been hit by “a series of unfortunate events”.
Ms 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.
Ms 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.
The 40-year-old has taken Ms Rooney to court after receiving the blame for leaking passing information about Ms Rooney’s private life to the The Sun.
The allegations were made in an explosive post in which Ms Rooney detailed an elaborate scheme to work out where the leaks from Instagram were coming from, concluding: “It’s…… Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Ms Vardy denies the allegations and is suing her fellow footballer’s wife for libel.
Ms Rooney earned the nickname “Wagatha Christie” after detailing an elaborate scheme to work out where the leaks from Instagram were coming from.
Additioinal reporting by Press Association