Moment ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth's abusive ex husband is arrested

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This is the shocking moment the husband of ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth was arrested following his nine-year campaign of controlling abuse, harassment and stalking of his now ex-wife.

Jonathan Wignall, 56, who was married to the ITV Wales reporter for 18 years, was finally arrested in October 2019 after calling Ms Dodsworth ‘200 times’ in just one night.

Footage in this evening’s ITV Tonight’s Controlled by My Partner? The Hidden Abuse shows the former nightclub owner shouting to see his wife while being ushered into a police van.

Appearing on GMB today ahead of the programme, Ms Dodsworth suggested that her abusive ex’s ‘jealously’ at first appeared ‘flattering’.

She added: ‘Hindsight is an amazing thing. There were signs from day one. He would lose his temper very quickly and be the nicest person one minute and switch completely… a verbal argument would turn into something physical.’

It comes as her daughter Grace, 18, opens up about her father’s coercive behaviour towards her mother in this evening’s show.

Wignall pleaded guilty to coercive behaviour and stalking in April, 2021. He was sentenced to three years in custody, of which he will serve half before being released on licence. He was also issued with a restraining order against contacting Ms Dodsworth.  

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This is the shocking moment the husband of ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth was arrested following his nine-year campaign of controlling abuse, harassment and stalking of his now ex-wife

This is the shocking moment the husband of ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth was arrested following his nine-year campaign of controlling abuse, harassment and stalking of his now ex-wife

Jonathan Wignall, 56, who was married to the ITV Wales reporter for 18 years, was finally arrested in October 2019 after calling Ms Dodsworth ‘200 times’ in just one night

Jonathan Wignall, 56, who was married to the ITV Wales reporter for 18 years, was finally arrested in October 2019 after calling Ms Dodsworth ‘200 times’ in just one night

Appearing on GMB today ahead of the programme, Ms Dodsworth suggested that her abusive ex's'jealously' at first appeared'flattering'

Appearing on GMB today ahead of the programme, Ms Dodsworth suggested that her abusive ex’s ‘jealously’ at first appeared ‘flattering’

In the police footage, an officer is seen asking Wignall:  What’s happened last night, mate?’, to which he replies: ‘What do you mean?’

The officer explains: ‘Well, [Ms Dodsworth’s] called us this morning saying you were quite persistent on the phone last night.’

Wignall replies simply: ‘She’s my wife’.  

‘I know, but 200 times. You’re going to have to be arrested, mate,’ the officer explains, further adding: ‘Because of harassment… that’s a lot of phone calls’ when Wignall asks why.

As he is escorted into the police van, he shouts: ‘Let me speak to her. Ruth, Ruth, Ruth,’ before the officer insists ‘Stay there, you’re under arrest, mate.’ 

Speaking to GMB hosts Kate Garraway and Adil Ray today, Ms Dodsworth admitted: ‘200 times that was nothing. That really was just the tip of the iceberg. 

‘In the run up to that particular event, that arrest, I would say his behaviour had escalated to the point that it was hundreds and hundreds of phone calls.’

She also recalled one night where her children warned her not to return home as they feared their father ‘would kill’ their mother. 

Footage in this evening’s ITV Tonight's Controlled by My Partner? The Hidden Abuse shows the former nightclub owner shouting to see his wife while being ushered into a police van

Footage in this evening’s ITV Tonight’s Controlled by My Partner? The Hidden Abuse shows the former nightclub owner shouting to see his wife while being ushered into a police van

As he is escorted into the police van, the husband shouts:'Let me speak to her. Ruth, Ruth, Ruth,' before the officer insists'Stay there, you're under arrest, mate.'

As he is escorted into the police van, the husband shouts: ‘Let me speak to her. Ruth, Ruth, Ruth,’ before the officer insists ‘Stay there, you’re under arrest, mate.’

‘My children were OK but texted to say if you come home he is going to kill you. That was the night before he was arrested. That was at 8.30am in the morning. He had been on an alcohol fuelled rampage for about 24 hours,’ she said.

‘I knew my children were safe but they were texting me and ringing me saying “please mum don’t come home” – you can see in the arrest video how volatile and violent he actually was at that point.’

The weather presenter also discussed her husband’s release, admitting her family are ‘scared’ of the day he is let out of prison.

‘He has shown no remorse, insisted Ms Dodsworth. ‘My worry is that a restraining order is a bit of paper. Has he learnt? Is he really going to change? 

‘I’m scared, my family are scared. We do worry about what is going to happen. We have to be sensible, we have had visits from the police.

‘The judge said at sentencing “you are a danger to your ex wife and your children”. I have made a concerted effort not to say “you can’t do this”. I do not want to be that parent – he is still their dad at the end of the day. 

She added:'Hindsight is an amazing thing. There were signs from day one. He would lose his temper very quickly and be the nicest person one minute and switch completely... a verbal argument would turn into something physical.'

She added: ‘Hindsight is an amazing thing. There were signs from day one. He would lose his temper very quickly and be the nicest person one minute and switch completely… a verbal argument would turn into something physical.’

‘How I feel about potential contact is a different affair, I would be very worried. Grace is going to be 19 this year and my son Jack is 16 – they have lived a whole life in an abuse household.’

The broadcaster also candidly spoke about how her husband’s behaviour changed – going from the ‘nicest person one minute’ to ‘switching completely’.

‘It is quite nice in a way, that sort of possessiveness and he is a bit jealous. It can appear like caring, “it’s because he loves me”‘, she admitted when recalling how she first felt about his possessive behaviour.

‘Hindsight is an amazing thing. There were signs from day one. He would lose his temper very quickly and be the nicest person one minute and switch completely.

‘We were constantly walking on eggshells waiting for that eruption to happen, that changing behaviour. A verbal argument would turn into something physical. He would push, he would grab me by the throat.’

Yet despite all she has suffered, Ms Dodsworth insisted she is still going to have a ‘happy life’ and ‘wakes up and smiles’. 

‘My life is so good now. I wake up and smile and I have a reason to wake up and smile as opposed to waking up and crying which I did for so many years,’ she admitted. 

During ITV Tonight’s Controlled by My Partner? The Hidden Abuse, which will air this evening, the broadcaster admits how it wasn’t until her own children ‘feared for her safety’ that she realised it ‘wasn’t normal’.

Her daughter, Grace, 18, echoes her statement, explaining: ‘This was our reality, this was our lives, it was normal for us. 

‘And then all of a sudden we’re having all these professionals telling us that’s not right, and everything we’ve known is pretty much gone.’

ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth's daughter (pictured with her family in 2014) opened up about her father's coercive behaviour towards her mother

ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth’s daughter (pictured with her family in 2014) opened up about her father’s coercive behaviour towards her mother

Ms Dodsworth, 46, a familiar face for viewers of ITV Wales, was subjected to a nine-year campaign of controlling abuse, harassment and stalking from h er ex-husband of 18-years Jonathan Wignall

 Ms Dodsworth, 46, a familiar face for viewers of ITV Wales, was subjected to a nine-year campaign of controlling abuse, harassment and stalking from her ex-husband of 18-years Jonathan Wignall (pictured together)

Elsewhere in the programme, exclusive police footage reveals the moment when Ms Dodsworth’s ex-husband was arrested. 

Wignall can be heard shouting to speak with his wife as he is ushered into a police vehicle during the clip.

Speaking about her experience, Ms Dodsworth said: ‘I had no idea that the threats and manipulation my ex-husband used for almost a decade were actually a pattern of criminal behaviour. 

‘He would call me dozens of times a day, wanting to know where I was and who I was with. He would check my phone and even delete contacts from it. 

‘He would turn up at my workplace, or insist that I leave the studio to eat lunch with him in his car.’

Ruth continued: ‘It wasn’t until my own children began to fear for my safety that I realised what was going on wasn’t normal. In October 2019, I finally called the police and my then-husband was arrested.

‘My ex-husband was jailed for just 3 years and 9 months, but could be released later this year after serving less than half of his sentence – I can’t pretend I’m not scared, but I am trying to stay positive.

Yesterday, Ms Dodsworth detailed how her abusive ex-husband targeted her children'when he could no longer manipulate me'. The broadcaster warned her followers that she would be sharing messages that might be'triggering'

Yesterday, Ms Dodsworth detailed how her abusive ex-husband targeted her children ‘when he could no longer manipulate me’. The broadcaster warned her followers that she would be sharing messages that might be ‘triggering’

The message Wignall sent to the couple's children, which Dodsworth shared on social media this week

The message Wignall sent to the couple’s children, which Dodsworth shared on social media this week 

‘… Because my future is bright and my smiles are genuine now and I want anyone experiencing this abuse to know you are not alone. There is help available and you don’t have to live in fear.’

Yesterday, Ms Dodsworth detailed how her abusive ex-husband targeted her children ‘when he could no longer manipulate me’.

She told her 37,700 followers on Twitter that Wignall sent photos and messages to her children telling them their mother ‘didn’t want’ them. 

She shared an image taken by Wignall three years ago showing herself in hospital, which he then sent to her children with the message: ‘This is what it looks like when you don’t want your children any more.’ 

The broadcaster warned her followers that she would be sharing messages that might be ‘triggering’.

She said: ‘I’ve been working on something close to my heart. You’ll see it in less than 48 hrs. 

‘But any of my followers who might be triggered I just wanted to let you know to be careful with my account. Personal stuff coming up, then sunshine I promise.’

Explaining the image, she told her followers that her former husband had ‘photographed everything’ after she was taken into hospital three years ago. 

Ms Dodsworth added: ‘I never knew why. After he was arrested months later this is the message he sent my children. He couldn’t manipulate me anymore. So he tried to manipulate them. #coercivecontrol #DomesticAbuse.’

Speaking last month on Loose Women about the controlling marriage, Ms Dodsworth told how one day her two children rang her to warn her not to come home because he ‘would kill her’. 

She went on to discuss her fears at the prospect of her ex-husband being released early from prison after only serving half his sentence. 

She said: ‘One particular night I had gone to work as normal but during the course of the day he must have started drinking early on as by the time I got back from school my kids rang me.

‘They said ‘we’re okay but don’t come home because he will kill you.’

On Loose Women, she discussed how the abuse started, saying: ‘I didn’t know what coercive control was but my relationship was definitely one defined by coercive control.

Sad: The 46-year-old broadcaster's former partner Jonathan Wignall (pictured) was given a three year sentence last year but may be released early

Sad: The 46-year-old broadcaster’s former partner Jonathan Wignall (pictured) was given a three year sentence last year but may be released early

‘It started off with a little bit of possessiveness and you think “oh he must really love me” then suddenly it becomes really overwhelming and overpowering.

‘It’s all very insidious and it happens under the radar, it was so subtle I lived with it for 20 years I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know it was coercive control’ 

She continued: ‘I look back now and it was almost there from day one, losing contact with your friends, treading on eggshells, waking up thinking what mood will he be in today…

‘When he was nice he was the nicest person, he could be charm personified but that wouldn’t last and you never knew when it could switch.

‘I would leave home and would be in tears because we would have argued about something silly…walk into the studio smile and then go home again in tears.’

She then detailed how he would try and get into her phone to check her messages and get her to Facetime him when she was away for work to check where she was.

She then spoke about his potential early release, saying: ‘He could have been let out now, four months prior he can apply for home release, and you can’t keep people behind bars forever.

Happy: Ruth, a familiar face to viewers on ITV Wales, revealed last June she had met a new partner and was relishing her new found freedom

Happy: Ruth, a familiar face to viewers on ITV Wales, revealed last June she had met a new partner and was relishing her new found freedom 

‘But it was a year ago today the judge said you are evil and a danger to your wife and children, how much of that has changed? 

‘I never set out to send him to prison, but the police have been fantastic in saying you’re not doing this he is doing this to himself.’ 

Earlier this year she revealed that she has fitted her house with security cameras and alarms as Jonathan prepares to be let out early, serving half of his three-year sentence. 

Taking to Twitter to express her concern, Ruth said at the time: ‘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. That’s our reality. Alarms everywhere! It’s all good but it’s not over.’ 

She 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.’

Ruth revealed last June she had met a new partner and was relishing her new found freedom.

However, the presenter predicted her anxiety regarding her ex-husband’s release, claiming he blamed her for his jail sentence and had never taken responsibility for the abuse.

The former couple met in 2001, a year after Ruth became a weather presenter, and married in 2002. 

Wignall’s controlling behaviour began around 2010 when the couple moved from Swansea to Cowbridge and she became their main breadwinner when his nightclub business started to fail.

But rather than celebrate her success, he grew envious and obsessive, setting alarms to check Ruth’s nightly forecasts on TV and call her dozens of times a day demanding to know where she was and who she was with.

He would also turn up outside broadcast locations or insist that she ate her lunch in the car with him, rather than at a studio canteen.

Plus, demand access to her phone so he could check her messages and delete contacts he didn’t like and watched her use the toilet and shower in case she was using her phone in the bathroom and accompany her to medical appointments.

Abuse: Her ex-husband would also turn up outside broadcast locations or insist that she ate her lunch in the car with him, rather than at a studio canteen

Abuse: Her ex-husband would also turn up outside broadcast locations or insist that she ate her lunch in the car with him, rather than at a studio canteen

He even placed a tracking device under the steering wheel of her car and slapped her around the face if she fella asleep before him.

After Wignall, the father of her two children was sentenced, she appeared on ITV show 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.

‘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.’

She added: ‘If I waited for him to go to sleep first, it was okay. But if I went to sleep first he would slap my face to wake me up because it was not on his terms.

In ITV Tonight - Controlled by My Partner? The Hidden Abuse, Ms Dodsworth (pictured) explores the crime of coercive control and investigates what needs to be done to stop this domestic abuse

In ITV Tonight – Controlled by My Partner? The Hidden Abuse, Ms Dodsworth (pictured) explores the crime of coercive control and investigates what needs to be done to stop this domestic abuse 

‘This is a man that I loved and is the father of my children. It is degrading, it was humiliating but it is so hard to get out. I would say to people, just get out. Speak to someone…

‘You don’t realise that isolation until you look back on it. His paranoia, his jealousy – I work in a very public job, I meet a lot of people and he couldn’t handle that.’

In ITV Tonight – Controlled by My Partner? The Hidden Abuse, Ms Dodsworth explores the crime of coercive control and investigates what needs to be done to stop this domestic abuse.

The offence of coercive and controlling behaviour was only recognised as a crime in England and Wales from December 2015. Similar offences were brought into law in Scotland in 2019 and in Northern Ireland last year.

ITV Tonight contacted 43 police forces across England and Wales and discovered that since coercive control has been an offence, there have been more than 60,000 reports of this crime, while in the same period there have been over 3 million reports of domestic abuse.

A Home Office spokesperson told ITV Tonight: ‘Coercive control is an abhorrent crime and that is why, through the Domestic Abuse Act, later this year the extended controlling or coercive behaviour offence will apply to intimate partners, ex-partners or family members, regardless of whether the victim and perpetrator live together, offering wider protection to victims.’

‘The Government is also committed to supporting all victims of domestic abuse and recognises that specialist support is needed for some groups. This year we have provided an additional £1.5 million of funding for specialist services provided by and for the communities which they serve, to address the specific needs of victims and survivors.’

‘Since the controlling or coercive behaviour offence came into effect in 2015, the number of offences recorded by the police has increased steadily but we know more needs to be done to support those who are pursuing justice through the courts. 

‘This is why we are shortly publishing the updated Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Statutory Guidance for public consultation which aims to support the criminal justice system in recognising the offence, making arrests and pursuing criminal convictions in such cases.’

You can watch ITV Tonight – Controlled by My Partner? The Hidden Abuse at 8.30pm, ITV Thursday 5 April, on ITV or catch-up on ITV Hub 

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