Ruth Dodsworth: Warning from children about abusive ex-husband saved my life, reveals ITV weather presenter

·2-min read

ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth has revealed how a warning from her children to avoid returning home because of fears her abusive ex-husband was "going to kill you" saved her life.

The mother-of-two said her worried children had phoned her after they witnessed their father Jonathan Wignall drinking heavily and harassing their mother with calls and texts.

The 45-year-old told ITV's This Morning how the situation had escalated in October 2019 when Wignall began phoning her hundreds of times a day.

She said: "That particular day he'd started drinking earlier in the day.

"By the time my children got home from school they were phoning me saying 'Mum, don't come home. Don't come home. He's going to kill you'.

"And I think, for me, that was a turning point. I didn't go home that night, because I think if I had I wouldn't be here now in any shape or form."

Wignall, 54, was jailed for three years and given a restraining order last week following a nine-year campaign of controlling behaviour, harassment and stalking the presenter during their marriage.

It included cutting her off from family and friends, accusing her of having affairs, using her fingerprint to access her phone while she was asleep, turning up at her places of work, and following her to the bathroom to stand outside.

Ms Dodsworth said she confided in a friend before she was convinced to seek help.

"As hard as it is, just ask," she said. "Because I look back now and wish I'd done so sooner.

"I would not be here, I wouldn't be alive if I hadn't asked for help."

Ms Dodsworth said Wignall, who she has now divorced, had left their family destitute by secretly spending all their savings and accruing debts in his ex-wife's name.

But the home Wignall had convinced her they owned was in fact only rented, and debts of hundreds of thousands of pounds had built up in her name.

"I've worked for 25 years, every single day for ITV. And I have, apart from a very small pension, nothing to show for it," she said.

At Wignall's sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge Daniel Williams told him he was a "fantasist with a fragile ego" which made him "an unrepentant, possessive bully".