Watch Ruth Dodsworth's interview on ITV's This Morning
ITV Cymru Wales Weather Presenter Ruth Dodsworth has said she “wouldn’t be alive” if she didn’t ask for help in a bid to help other victims of domestic abuse.
Ms Dodsworth’s husband was jailed last week after subjecting her to almost a decade of both emotional and physical abuse.
Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, she said, “People ask ‘Why didn’t you ask for help?’ Even my own family are wondering why I didn’t talk to them. As hard as it is - ask - just ask for help. I look back now and wish I had done it sooner.”
Jonathan Wignall was jailed for one count of coercive and controlling behaviour and was sentenced to three years at Cardiff Crown Court.
After his arrest, Ruth found out that the house they lived in was rented and she had thousands of pounds worth of debt against her name.
She said, "I have worked for 25 years but have nothing to show for it. I am not able to go for a mortgage, can't take out a credit card, but I have got my children, I am sitting here talking to you now and I have got family around me who love me.”
“I am so, so lucky and to be given this platform to say to anybody, there are dark days but I was saved and if people can do that for me, they can do that for anyone.”
"Not being believed was something I was worried about, but I was believed."
Ruth told presenters Philip Schofield and Rochelle Humes that things came to a head when her children phoned her to warn her not to come home after work one evening.
"Just under two years ago when things escalated, I had been in work during that week, he had been phoning hundreds of times a day, turning up at the office, sending text messages asking who I was with," she said.
"One day, he started drinking early in the day and by the time the children got home from school they were phoning me, warning me don't come home, saying he was going to kill me.”
"That was a turning point. I didn't go home, and I think that if I did, I don't think I would be here today in any way shape or form. I wouldn't be alive if I didn't ask for help. It took confiding with someone else saying that if I didn't phone the police, they would."
When Wignall was arrested on suspicion of harassment, he told police, "Harassment? But she's my wife."
He was released on bail on the condition he did not contact Ms Dodsworth, but his behaviour later raised suspicions he had planted a tracking device on her car.
The tracker was found, and police discovered an app on his phone and laptop linked to the device. In addition, an alarm on his phone was set to go off when Ms Dodsworth was presenting the weather on television, Cardiff Crown Court was told.
The couple had been married for 18 years, and Ruth said she “desperately” tried to make the marriage work.
They married in 2001 but their relationship began to deteriorate in 2010 when Ruth returned to work.
"Within a marriage, you try to make it work, you make excuses, you try to justify, you plaster a smile but life is not always what it seems," she said.
"Especially with a job like ours, you smile and make it look like you are happy, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. I was determined to make it work, but it just didn't in the end."
Last week, a court heard Wignall's controlling behaviour began around 2010, when the couple moved from Swansea to Cowbridge and she became their main breadwinner as his nightclub business started to fail.
She told Schofield and Humes that with the benefit of hindsight, the signs were there.
"We were happy but there were moments where his temper became obvious," she said. "I was the one person he could direct his anger at as his businesses started to fail.
"But the very phrase 'domestic abuse' was very difficult for me to say, even now, because I still didn't see myself in that category."
"If I waited for him to go to sleep first, it was OK. But if I went to sleep first he would slap my face to wake me up because it was not on his terms.
"This is a man that I loved and is the father of my children. It is degrading, it is humiliating but it is so hard to get out. I would say to people, just get out. Speak to someone."
Wignall will serve half of his sentence before being released on licence. He was also given a restraining order preventing him from contacting Ms Dodsworth.
After Wignall was sentenced, Ruth took to Twitter to thank people who had reached out to her following the court case.
She wrote: "I'd just like to say, from the bottom of my heart - thank you. I'm overwhelmed by the love and support. I’m overwhelmed by the love and support. I never wanted my story to be public. On reflection I’m glad. Because if just one person can relate..can feel assured that they are not alone.. then it has all been worth it”
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse visit the Live Fear Free website or call the helpline on 0808 80 10 800.