My abusive ex told my kids I no longer wanted them while I lay hospital, says ITV's Ruth Dodsworth

ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth has revealed her abusive ex told their kids she didn't want them anymore.

Coercive Jonathan Wignall, 55, photographed his former partner while she lay in a hospital bed then sent it to their children with the sinister message.


Under the picture of her hooked up to several wires, he reportedly said: "This is what it looks like when you don't want your children anymore."

Bravely sharing a screenshot last night, Ruth said: "Three years ago I was taken into hospital.

"He photographed everything. I never knew why.

"After he was arrested months later, this is the message he sent my children.

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"He couldn’t manipulate me anymore. So he tried to manipulate them. #coercivecontrol #DomesticAbuse."

Wignall was caged for three years after subjecting broadcaster Ruth to nine years of controlling abuse during their 18-year marriage.

The nightclub owner pleaded guilty to coercive behaviour and stalking last year and was handed a lifetime restraining order.

He used to set an alarm to check her nightly forecasts and even fitted a tracker under her car.

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She also received hundreds of calls every day demanding where she was and who she was with, and he regularly checked her phone and deleted any contacts he didn't like.

Speaking after Wignall was sentenced, Ruth appeared on This Morning to encourage other victims to reporter their abusers.

She said: "At its worst, 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.

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"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."


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 weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.

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

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