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ITV Wales weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth left viewers in tears as she appeared on This Morning today to talk about her own experiences of coercive control after finding herself in a decade long abusive relationship with her now ex-husband.
Speaking to Phillip Schofield and Rochelle Humes on the daytime TV show, Ruth, 45, recalled the painful lows of her relationship with ex Jonathan Wignall, 54, in a bid to help others in a similar position to feel there was a way out, and to notice the signs.
Ruth's ex-husband is now in jail with a stalking conviction, but put her through years of torment before she was able to see that something was wrong, and felt strong enough to act on it.
"Just under two years ago when things really escalated," she told the TV hosts. "During that week he'd been phoning me hundreds and hundreds of times a day, turning up at the office, text messages: 'Where are you, who are you with?'"
On the turning point where she realised her husband was a danger, Ruth recalled: "That particular day he started drinking earlier in the day, and when the children came 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," she said. "I didn't go home that night and I think if I had I wouldn't be here right now in any way shape or form."
She added that speaking out about the abuse she suffered was the first step towards ending it.
"You know, it took confiding to someone else for them to say ruth if you don't ring the police, I will," she said.
During the interview, Phil highlighted some of the daily practices of coercive control Ruth was victim to, such as her husband standing against the bathroom door when she was in there, tracking her car and holding her thumb against her phone in her sleep to read her texts.
He also detailed how she had been isolated from her friends and family, because they feared her partner.
"You don't realise that isolation until you look back on it. His paranoia, his jealousy... I work in a very public job and I meet a lot of people, and for him, he couldn't handle that," she said.
"To him, every male I met was a potential affair, and that jealousy escalated to the point where he offered to pay my children money to go into my phone.
"He started to turn up in places he had no reason to be. The coercive control then led to a stalking conviction - and its been tough, its been really tough."
When he was handed his stalking conviction six days ago, and sentenced to a three year sentence - of which he will serve half then be released on license - the judge told Wignall: "You affect the air of a respectable and beleaguered but successful businessman. You're not.
"You're a fantasist with a fragile ego which makes you an unrepentant, possessive bully."
Wignall apologised for his actions in court, stating he was "besotted" and "sorry for his behaviour".
Reacting to Ruth's heartbreaking account, fans were quick to share their sympathies, and commend her bravery for opening up about what she'd been through.
"Domestic abuse is so awful. Massive respect to Ruth for speaking up and helping others #thismorning," one person wrote.
As another penned: "Heart out to Ruth I was in a similar situation. Stay strong you should be proud and stand tall. Life will now be better #thismorning".
A third wrote: "Let's hope that domestic abuse victims are watching this interview and are getting the strength from Ruth to go out and ask for help so they can leave their violent partner #ThisMorning".
Sharing a clip of herself on the show, Ruth wrote on Twitter: "If you can relate. If you're going through similar. This is for you. Thank you for listening. Help is out there."
Well done to Ruth for talking about everything she's been through. We're sure it'll be invaluable to so many.
If you have been affected by this article or Ruth's interview, please all 0808 2000 247 or visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk to request a safe time to be called back or use the live chat service, Mon-Fri, 3pm-10pm.
Featured Image Credit: ITV
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