AN ITV weather presenter’s former husband stalked her, controlled her and placed a tracking device on her car to see if she was having an affair.
Ruth Dodsworth (previously Ruth Wignall), 46, is often seen on ITV’s regional welsh news and has also been on This Morning, however her ex-husband and father of her 2 children, Jonathan Wignall, a former Escape nightclub owner of Trawler Road, Swansea, coerced, controlled and harassed Ms. Dodsworth before and after she called an end to their 17-year marriage.
During their marriage, which started in 2002, Ms. Dodsworth was accused of having various affairs by Wignall who would call her dozens of times every day and demand to know her location and who she was with.
Wignall, who used to organise the ‘Escape Into The Park’ musical festival in Singleton Park, Swansea, demanded access to Ms Dodsworth’s phone and would go through her messages deleting any contacts he didn’t approve of.
Cardiff Crown Court also heard yesterday, Wednesday April 14, how Ms Dodsworth once woke up to find Wignall using her fingerprint to unlock her mobile phone in the middle of the night.
Wignall often went to work with his wife so he could observe who she was with but he was asked to stop attending both the studios and any location shoots by bosses at ITV. After this Ms. Dodsworth was forced to spend her entire lunch time sat in Wignall’s car in the car park.
The ITV weather presenter ended their relationship after receiving more than 150 phone calls in one day, shortly after that he was arrested for harassing his wife.
But Wignall didn’t stop there, after their separation he planted a location tracker on his wife’s car to observe her behaviour and follow her, he also began setting alarms for Ms. Dodsworth’s nightly broadcasts and left a CD in her car that contained a message from a Psychic saying they would reunite.
Prosecuting, Claire Pickthall said: “By the nature of her job – a television journalist and presenter – Ms. Dodsworth would work long hours, she would attend charity events and she had a social media profile that needed to be maintained.
“She also took on extra work as a presenter on Coast and Country.”
“When travelling on location with colleagues he would call her incessantly on the journeys, when she arrived, and he would call her – or she would have to call him – in the evenings.”
Ms Pickthall told Cardiff Crown Court that Wignall and Ms. Dodsworth had swapped cars with each other before she worked out that the Fiat he had given to her had some kind of tracking device on it.
She said: “There was a suspicion the defendant had placed a tracker on the car she was now driving.
“She was driving home from a relatively remote location and when she was coming back the defendant was seen driving towards her with seemingly no reason for being in that area at that time.
“Because of the concerns she took the car to a garage and staff were asked to look for a tracker on the vehicle as she explained she feared her ex-husband had placed on the car.”
The tracking device was discovered hidden underneath the vehicle’s steering wheel.
“Shortly after it being discovered when the car was still at the garage the defendant arrived and demanded to know what work was being done on the car.
“Suspecting he was the person who had placed the tracker on the vehicle the manager told him that the tracker had been found and the defendant left immediately and the police were informed.”
The court then heard how police seized Wignall’s laptop computer and mobile phone where they found an app which linked to the tracking device that he had accessed over 250 times in under three weeks.
Wignall, from Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan, admitted coercive and controlling behaviour and stalking his ex-wife.
Defending, Dyfed Llion Thomas said: “This is a man who is besotted with his wife.
“He is very sorry for his behaviour.”
Judge Daniel Williams said to Wignall that he was a “high risk” to Ms. Dodsworth, now his ex-wife.
“You would call her on the way to work, you would turn up at her places of work and when not with her you would inundate her with phone calls – you expected her to be answerable to you at all times.
“You would open her mail, stand guard outside the bathroom and you went with her to doctor’s appointments.
“She became isolated from her friends and family, you wouldn’t let her travel for work with others.”
He continued: “You affect the air of a respectable, beleaguered, but successful businessman. You’re not; you’re a fantasist with a fragile ego which makes you an unrepentant, possessive bully.”
Wignall was jailed for three years and given a restraining order preventing him from contacting Ms. Dodsworth.