A TV weather presenter said her children begged her not to come home because they feared her abusive husband would kill them.
ITV’s Ruth Dodsworth was told to stay away the day she called the police about Jonathan Wignall.
Ruth, 46, said: “My kids basically said, ‘Mum, don’t come home or he’ll kill you’.”
“He had been on the edge for 24 hours under the influence of alcohol.
“I was used to that. But at that point I told him I wanted a divorce.”
“He couldn’t tighten his grip anymore.
“This is a man who basically said to me, ‘If I can’t have you, no one else can’.”
“If I hadn’t dialed 999 I wouldn’t be alive.”
Ruth speaks out to highlight economic abuse.
She has no savings as nightclub owner Wignall manages her finances.
In 2021, he was sentenced to three years in prison for stalking and coercive control, but only served 18 months.
How you can get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Contact charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat line and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarize yourself with the Silent Solution, where you report abuse without speaking on the phone but instead dialing “55.”
- Always keep some money with you, including change for a phone or bus ticket.
- If you suspect your partner is going to attack you, try moving to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is an exit and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage where knives or other weapons may be located. Avoid rooms where you could be trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you could be trapped in a closet or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, SupportLine is available on 01708 765200 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm. The charity’s email support service is available weekdays and weekends during the crisis – email@example.com.
Women’s Aid offers a Live chat service – Available on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
You can also call the 24-hour toll-free domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247.