ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth has shared her fears over her abusive ex-husband’s release from prison.
The 46-year-old presenter denounced the coercive control she suffered and his own experience in a controlling marriage in a new television program.
In Controlled by my partner? The Hidden Abuse never-before-seen police footage will be shown as Ms Dodsworth’s ex-husband was arrested.
Nightclub owner Jonathan Wignall was sentenced to three years in prison last April after pleading guilty to harassment and coercive control.
He had subjected her to a nine-year campaign of abuse.
The ITV program will investigate what can be done to end domestic violence.
In the programme, Ms Dodsworth explains how it took her years to admit she was being abused and how she is ‘scared’ that Wignall will potentially be released from prison later this year.
She said: “I had no idea that the threats and manipulation my ex-husband used for almost a decade was actually a pattern of criminal behavior.
“He called me dozens of times a day, wanting to know where I was and who I was with. He checked my phone and even deleted contacts from it.
“He would show up at my place of work or insist that I leave the studio to have lunch with him in his car.”
She said it took her years to recognize she was being abused and her children’s fears for her safety made her realize Wignall’s behavior was not normal.
“It wasn’t until my own children began to fear for my safety that I realized what was happening was not normal,” she said.
“In October 2019, I finally called the police and my then husband was arrested.
“My ex-husband was jailed for just three years and nine months, but could be released later this year after serving less than half his sentence – I can’t pretend I’m not scared, but I try to stay positive.”
Her 18-year-old daughter Grace said: “It was our reality, it was our life, it was normal for us. And then all of a sudden we have all these professionals telling us that it’s not ‘is not well, and everything that we ‘I know is pretty much gone.”
The offense of coercive and controlling behavior was not recognized as a crime in England and Wales until December 2015.
Similar offenses were enacted in Scotland in 2019 and in Northern Ireland last year.
Since 2015, police forces in England and Wales have received over 60,000 crime reports.
Domestic violence was reported more than three million times during the same period.
The Home Office said its Domestic Abuse Act would mean later this year that the controlling or coercive behavior offense could apply to intimate partners, ex-partners or family members, whether the victim and perpetrator live together, offering broader protection to victims.
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