ITV’s Ruth Dodsworth has shared footage of the moment her ex-husband was arrested, before being sent to prison for coercive and controlling behaviour.
Later this year, the weather presenter’s former partner, Jonathan Wignall, 55, could be released from jail after serving half of his sentence, having been sentenced to three years in April 2021.
In a programme set to air on ITV tonight, called Controlled By My Partner? The Hidden Abuse, Dodsworth, 46, shares the moment Wignall was arrested after he called her 200 times in one day.
In the clip, which was shown on Good Morning Britain, the presenter says in a voiceover: ‘It wasn’t until my own children began to fear for my safety that I realised what was going on wasn’t normal.’
At one point, Wignall is filmed shouting for his wife, as Dodsworth explained that in October 2019, she finally called the police, resulting in his arrest.
Police body cam footage showed Wignall, who ran a nightclub called Escape in Swansea, being confronted by police, with one officer asking him what happened on the previous night.
‘What do you mean?’ Wignall, as the officer replied: ‘Well, she’s called us this morning saying that you were quite persistent on the phone last night.’
He then responded curtly: ‘She’s my wife.’
After the officer pointed out that Wignall called his then-wife 200 times, he informed he that he had to be arrested.
When the businessman asked why, he was told: ‘Because of harassment, that’s a lot of phone calls.’
He struggled as the officer tried to place him in the police van, shouting for his wife and yelling: ‘Let me speak to her!’
Speaking on GMB, Dodsworth explained that the 200 calls on that day ‘really was just the tip of the iceberg’.
‘In the run-up to that particular event, that arrest, I would say that his behaviour had escalated to a point where it was hundreds and hundreds of phone calls a day, constant text messages, “Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with?” And when you’re living like that, it’s very, very difficult,’ she said.
‘I was at work, couldn’t answer the phone, but that didn’t stop him. He just kept on going. So yeah, 200 phone calls, that was nothing. But his response there, if you listen, was: “She’s my wife.”’
The weather presenter shares an 18-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son with her ex-husband, who phoned her the night before his arrest and warned her not to come home, resulting in Dodsworth fearing that he would kill her.
She said on GMB: ‘I had 20 years of domestic abuse and coercive control and my life now is so, so good and I’m so happy. I wake up and I smile and I have a reason to wake up and smile as opposed to waking up crying, which I did for so many years.
‘To anyone who thinks that making that call and that change is too hard, it is hard but it’s so worth it because you can have a happy life.’
Tonight: Controlled By My Partner? The Hidden Abuse airs at 8.30pm on Thursday 5 May on ITV and on catch-up on the ITV Hub.