My kids told me 'don't come home, he'll kill you' as I lived in fear of abusive ex – it haunts me, says Ruth Dodsworth

My kids told me 'don't come home, he'll kill you' as I lived in fear of abusive ex – it haunts me, says Ruth Dodsworth

TV STAR Ruth Dodsworth told of the moment her children warned her not to come home as they feared her violent husband would kill her.

The ITV Wales presenter was in a relationship with vile Jonathan Wignall, 55, for 20 years before he was caged for abusing her.

As he was arrested by cops in South Wales after a 24-hour drinking binge, he screamed that he needed to talk to his wife.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain today before a documentary airs tonight, Ruth said her children had texted her: "If you come home, he's going to kill you."

"It still haunts me," she said.

The youngsters, now 16 and 18, had messaged her the warning on the night before Wignall was arrested.

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"He had been effectively on an alcohol-fuelled rampage for about 24 hours," Ruth said.

"I knew the children were safe, my mum and dad were around the corner and they could get out, but they were texting and ringing saying 'Please mum, don't come home'."

Wignall was "violent and volatile", she said.

She eventually called the police after he rang her 200 times in a day – but said: "That was nothing.

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"That really was the tip of the iceberg."

Viewers were shown footage of the moment Wignall was arrested, which was captured on officers' body-worn video cameras.

Asked why he'd called her repeatedly, he replied: "She's my wife."

"That really was the key to all of it," Ruth said.

"I was his wife, I was his possession – in a sense that gave him the right to do pretty much what he wanted and treat me the way he wanted."

Nightclub owner Wignall 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.

But he will soon be released from prison after serving half of his three-year sentence, and Ruth said she fears what he'll do next.

"To the best of my knowledge, he's shown no remorse," she said.

"A restraining order is a bit of paper, a tag doesn't really matter. Has he learned? Is he really going to change?"

Police have visited her home to put locks on the doors and windows.

I was his wife, I was his possession – that gave him the right to do pretty much what he wanted and treat me the way he wanted

"I am scared. I'm very scared," she said.

"Hindsight is amazing thing. I can look back and recognise there were signs from day one.

"He would lose his temper quickly. He'd be the nicest person and then just switch – I was walking on eggshells waiting for an eruption to happen."

But she urged other victims to come forward, and praised the police who helped her.

"Those two young male officers in that moment arrested him and by doing that they saved my life, they saved my children, and they saved my family," she said.

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"You can have a happy life afterwards. I had 20 years of abuse and control and my life now is so good and happy.

"I have a reason to wake up and smile, rather than waking up and crying as I did for so many years."

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