ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth fears release of controlling ex-husband jailed a year ago for stalking her
ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth has revealed she is terrified for the moment her controlling ex husband gets out of jail.
Jonathan Wignall, 55, was caged for three years after subjecting Ruth to nine years of controlling abuse during their 18-year marriage.
The nightclub owner pleaded guilty to coercive behaviour and stalking last year and was handed a lifetime restraining order.
But he is now expected to be released early from jail, serving only half of his sentence.
Ruth, 46, wrote on Twitter: "Exactly one year ago today my ex-husband pleaded guilty to stalking and coercive control.
"I've spent this afternoon with South Wales Police learning how to protect my home/family ahead of his possible imminent release.
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"That's our reality. Alarms everywhere! It's all good but it's not over."
The mum-of-two added: "He was sentenced to three years, nine months, to run concurrently.
"Told to serve half minimum. Can apply for early release four-and-a-half before the halfway point.
"This is standard apparently. Lifetime restraining order, yes. But that's just a piece of paper. He's a dangerous man."
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Wignall made the ITV host's life a living hell after controlling every aspect of her life for almost a decade.
Cardiff Crown Court last year heard her obsessive husband would set an alarm to check her nightly forecasts and had even fitted a tracker under her car.
He would also call her dozens of times a day demanding to know where she was and who she was with.
Wignall accused Ruth of having an affair – and would demand access to her phone so he could check her messages and delete contacts he didn't like.
After Jonathan, the dad of her two children, was sentenced Ruth appeared on ITV's This Morning to tell her story and persuade other victims to report their abusers.
She said: "At its worst, just under two years ago, when things escalated, I'd been in work and during that week he had been phoning me hundreds and hundreds of times a day, turning up at the office, texting me 'where are you', asking who I was with.
"That particular day he started drinking early in the day and by the time my children got home from school they were phoning me saying 'mum, don't come home, he's going to kill you' and I think, for me, that was a turning point.
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"I didn't go home that night because I think if I had, I wouldn't be here now in any way, shape or form.
"It took confiding in someone else for them to say 'Ruth, if you don't ring the police I will' – and that really changed everything."
How you can get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
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