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The Guy Who Inspired Coleen Rooney to Turn Detective

Meet Detective Dave.

by Sirin Kale
10 October 2019, 11:15am

Photo of Coleen Rooney by Allstar Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo; magnifying glass by Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

On Wednesday, the absolute best thing ever happened on the internet and we all went insane. To summarise: Coleen Rooney fired up her Notes app and released a statement accusing Rebekah Vardy of leaking personal stories about herself to The Sun. Only, none of these stories were real – Rooney had long suspected that Vardy had been speaking to the press about her, so she made up a bunch of batshit fake stories, shared them on her Instagram Stories and then limited the audience so that only Vardy was able to view them.

When the stories duly made their way into the national press, Rooney says she had proof that Vardy's Instagram account was behind the leak, and she went public (note the use of the word "account" – Rooney has stopped short of directly accusing Rebekah of being the leak, only claiming that someone with access to her account has been selling stories).

For her part, Vardy has rejected the claims, pointing out that she doesn't need the money from selling stories, because she's rich, before reminding us all that she's heavily pregnant so we should be nice to her. Brilliantly, the Vardys have instructed forensic investigators to try to determine whether Rebekah's account was hacked, and, if so, by whom – an investigation I expect to be as much of a whitewash as the Chilcot Inquiry.

#WagathaChristie is glorious because it has all the components of a great British melodrama: warring WAGs, screenshotted iPhone notes statements and an absolutely world-class use of ellipsis. I have not felt such giddy euphoria since that glorious week last summer where it briefly looked like England might make the World Cup finals and we all hung from lampposts and howled at the moon and threw pints over our heads.

But before #WagathaChristie became an unstoppable cultural phenomenon that prompted New York Times explainers and calls for Coleen Rooney to head up the Met, there was one man: 30-year-old Dave Burrows, who works at a joiner's shop and lives in Manchester. In January, Rooney tweeted about how someone with access to her private Instagram account was selling fake stories to the press about her: "It's sad to think that someone who I have accepted to follow me is betraying for either money or to keep a relationship with the press," she wrote.

Burrows responded: "make a false story tell ppl different things to see which 1 comes out = find the culprit". And like that, Burrows seems to have planted the seed for the greatest British celebrity story since Rebecca Loos wanked off a pig on reality TV. I caught up with the hero of the hour, a man the British public will always be indebted to: Detective Dave himself.

VICE: Hi, Dave. Been a bit of a mad day for you, I expect.
Detective Dave: Yeah, I mean, I just replied to [Rooney] in January – I didn't think much of it. And then yesterday my phone kept flashing, and I thought, what the hell? I’ve had nearly half a million activities on my Twitter account. I showed it to my mate at work and said, "Look at this?" Everyone started laughing and being like, "Detective Dave Columbo!" It's been non-stop. It's been crazy.

Where did you get the idea for the ruse from?
I just thought, 'If it was me in that situation, I'd do that.' Everyone likes to try and play detective, don't they? You know what it’s like when you watch CSI.

Whose side are you on?
Coleen, obviously. Course I am! One of your friends doing that to you… it's well out of order, innit. And I'm team Wayne as well, if you want to bring him into it. He was one of the biggest signings at United, who I support. That's why I was following Coleen to start with. I feel sorry for Coleen. She’s had a lot of drama going on lately. But everyone’s on her side now.

How does it feel to be at the epicentre of this media storm?
I was listening to the radio and they said it's the biggest story of the day. It's overtaken Brexit. And I'm in the middle of it! I just started laughing. Obviously I’ve edited my Twitter page to make people laugh – I've called myself Detective Dave and I’ve changed the picture. Everyone seems to be loving it, so I’m going to leave it for a little bit.

Have you heard from the Rooneys?
Not yet, but I’d love to. They have to meet me, don't they? They’ve got to. Imagine if they said, "We’d like to meet you, you’ve given us a good idea and here are some boots for you." I'd be like, "Amazing, cheers!"

Why do you think everyone is so obsessed with this story?
I just reckon it's because it's a WAG-type thing. It’s, like, Wagatha Christie, isn't it? And I think people don't like Rebekah Vardy much from when she was on I’m A Celebrity.

Will you be career-changing into detective work?
You know what, if I get the right offers I'll look into it. I’ve not heard much yet, though.

Thanks, Dave.

@thedalstonyears