GMB weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth stalked by controlling husband who tracked car to see if she was having an affair

A GOOD Morning Britain weather presenter was stalked by her controlling husband who tracked her car to see if she was having an affair. 

Jonathan Wignall, 54, was jailed for three years for plaguing ITV host Ruth Dodsworth including at her TV studio.



Ruth, 46, is a regular weather present on regional news in London and Wales – and has appeared on Good Morning Britain and This Morning.

Cardiff Crown Court heard her obsessive husband would set an alarm to check her nightly forecasts. He would also call her dozens of times a day demanding to know where she was and who she was with.

Wignall accused Ruth of having an affair – and would demand access to her phone so he could check her messages and delete contacts he didn't like.

Ruth once woke while sleeping to find music promoter Wignall pressing her fingerprint on her phone so he could gain access, the court heard.

The mum-of-two broke down in tears as she could the court how Wignall had robbed her "of what should have been the happiest times of my life”.

She said: "Because of my television career I have had to try and portray a smiley, happy, sunshine-like personality every day when how I felt was anything but.

"Jonathan's behaviour has had a big impact on my working life and relationships there have been times in work when I have been unable to keep it together."

"Living with Jonathan was like constantly walking on eggshells, his temper would turn on an instant and anything could trigger it."

Prosecutor Claire Pickthall noted that, as part of her job, Ruth would work long hours and had a social media profile that needed to be maintained.

Ms Pickthall said Wignall would go to work with his wife so he could see who she was with but was asked to stop attending the studios and location shoots by ITV bosses.

She added that Ruth would often have to spend her lunch breaks with Wignall sat in the car park in the studios in Cardiff Bay.

Ruth decided to leave her husband after 17 years of marriage after he bombarded her with more than 150 phone calls in one day.

After they split, Wignall placed a tracking device under the steering wheel of her car so he could monitor where she was.

The court heard Wignall would also set alarms on his phone for when she was scheduled to present the weather.

HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

He also left a CD in her car containing a recorded message from a psychic telling Ruth the couple would get back together.

Ms Pickthall said Wignall and Ruth had swapped cars before she realised the Fiat he had given her had a tracking device placed on it.

She said: "There was a suspicion the defendant had placed a tracker on the car she was now driving.

"She was driving home from a relatively remote location and when she was coming back the defendant was seen driving towards her with seemingly no reason for being in that area at that time.

"Because of the concerns she took the car to a garage and staff were asked to look for a tracker on the vehicle as she explained she feared her ex-husband had placed on the car."

Ms Pickthall said the bugging device was found hidden under the car's steering wheel.

Ms Pickthall said the bugging device was found hidden under the car's steering wheel.

She continued: ”Shortly after it being discovered when the car was still at the garage the defendant arrived and demanded to know what work was being done on the car.

"Suspecting he was the person who had placed the tracker on the vehicle the manager told him that the tracker had been found and the defendant left immediately and the police were informed."

Cardiff Crown Court heard police seized Wignall's laptop and phone and found an app linked to the tracking device that he accessed more than 250 times in less than three weeks.

Wignall, of Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, admitted controlling and coercive behaviour.

Judge Daniel Williams told Wignall he was a "high risk" to his ex wife.

He said: “She became isolated from her friends and family, you wouldn't let her travel for work with others.

“You affect the air of a respectable, beleaguered, but successful businessman. You're not; you're a fantasist with a fragile ego which makes you an unrepentant, possessive bully."

Wignall was jailed for three years and handed a restraining order banning him from contacting his wife.

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