ITV weather presenter reveals all about nine-year coercive control hell 3 months ago

ITV weather presenter reveals all about nine-year coercive control hell

Her ex would turn up at her workplace and make her eat lunch with him in his car

ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth has opened up about the coercive control she experienced in her nine-year marriage, amid fears her abusive ex-husband will be released from prison.

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The 46-year-old broadcaster will share the horrific story behind the abuse in a new documentary entitled Controlled By My Partner? The Hidden Abuse which is due to air this Thursday evening on ITV.

It was only last April that Dodsworth's ex-husband Jonathan Wignall, a nightclub owner, was sentenced to three years in prison, after pleading guilty to stalking and coercive control.

Coercive control is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim, as defined by Women's Aid. It has only been recognised as a crime in England and Wales since 2015, in Scotland since 2019, and in Northern Ireland since last year.

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The documentary, which airs tonight, shows previously unseen police footage of the moment Wignall was arrested. The abuser can be heard shouting and asking to speak to his wife as he is put into the police vehicle.

The footage will be shown in the documentary 'Controlled By My Partner? The Hidden Abuse' (Credit: ITV) The footage will be shown in the documentary 'Controlled By My Partner? The Hidden Abuse' (Credit: ITV)

Dodsworth, best known for her work on ITV Wales, also explains how it took her years to realise she was being subject to abuse.

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She 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."

In the end, it wasn't Dodsworth's own concerns that prompted her to take action - but that of her children.

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"It wasn't until my own children began to fear for my safety that I realised what was going on wasn't normal," she said.

Her 18-year-old daughter Grace said: "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."

Posting on Twitter, Dodsworth also shared an image that her husband sent to her children after she ended up in hospital.

In the caption, she said: "He couldn't manipulate me anymore. So he tried to manipulate them."

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Dodsworth also reveals how "scared" she is about her ex-husband potentially being released from prison later this year.

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 of his sentence - I can't pretend I'm not scared, but I am trying to stay positive."

Speaking on ITV Wales, Dodsworth explained how she hopes the documentary will encourage other victims to speak out.

"Coercive and controlling behaviour can happen to absolutely anyone," she said.

Controlled By My Partner? The Hidden Abuse airs on ITV on Thursday at 8:30pm.

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