ITV weather presenter Ruth Dodsworth has told how her abusive ex-husband left her in £250,000 of debt from loans he racked up in her name.
Dodsworth, 48, was married to Jonathan Wignall for nearly 20 years, but escaped her abusive husband in 2019 and has since spoken about his violence and control.
Wignall was jailed for three years in 2021 after pleading guilty to stalking and coercive control but ended up serving 18 months and now, Dodsworth has shared how she was left with a staggering amount of debt from his behaviour during their marriage.
Speaking to Steph's Packed Lunch on Wednesday, Dodsworth said: "The day that he was arrested, which was almost four years ago now, I walked out of my home, took my two children, and everything went.
"It’s since transpired, when the police started obviously going through documents and found bags and bags of mail that I was never allowed access to, never opened - there were credit cards he’d taken out in my name, loans, mortgages in my name, something we think to the tune of around £250,000."
She added: "Because they’re in my name the financial institutions don't care that I didn't know, at the end of the day they want their money back, so an awful lot of this I'm liable for.
"Despite the fact I've worked 26 years, I'm going to have to work until I’m probably about 175, I have no savings, the only asset that I have is my pension and that is it."
Dodsworth told Steph McGovern how Wignall's extreme control had crept up on her and that his financial abuse was a large factor in stopping her escape.
She said: "I didn't realise that suddenly my bank account was being emptied, suddenly I didn't have my bank card, which sounds really silly sitting here saying that.
"I'm sure people watching will say, 'What on earth do you mean, you didn't realise that you didn't have your money, you had to ask for money for food, you had to ask for money if you wanted to go out?'
"That again was something that crept up on me, you learn not to ask because if you ask questions and say, 'Hang on, where's my money?', then that starts an argument.
"People say to you, 'Why did you wait 20 years? Why didn't you get out?' Not having access to money is a very, very major reason that people don't get out because actually, you can't."
The ITV Wales weather presenter shared her chilling story of how she believed she had only survived by eventually managing to contact the police.
She told McGovern: "I am so glad that I did (escape), that I did call the police, that I did ask for help, because ultimately I would have died anyway.
"My children said to me one particular night, 'Don't come home because he's going to kill you', and if he hadn't done it that night, he would have done it another night.
"It was coming my way because that's how abusive relationships tend to work. They don't end well. But now I'm alive and I'm well and I'm sitting here talking to you and your audience and life is actually blinking brilliant.
"I get up every day and I smile; I've got a new husband and life is really lovely and it’s so important that people can see this."
Steph's Packed Lunch airs on Channel 4 on weekdays at 12pm.