Denise Welch says stalker ordeal 'completely changed the way I lived' for six months

·Contributor
·3-min read
Denise Welch said she was relieved when her stalker was jailed for more than seven years. (Getty)
Denise Welch said she was relieved when her stalker was jailed for more than seven years. (Getty)

Denise Welch has explained that she was left fearing for her life after an obsessed stalker started a fire outside her house.

The 63-year-old star told The Sun she experienced an "utterly terrifying" six months as she waited for arsonist Toraq Wyngard to be locked up for the crime.

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During that time, Wyngard was spotted at her house again and graffiti appeared calling Welch a "witch" and a "pimp", while the Loose Women panellist also received a strange note in the post quoting a Bible verse.

He was jailed for seven years and seven months in April after admitting stalking, possession of a knife, criminal damage and arson.

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Welch said: "This man tried to destroy my wonderful life. I’m just so grateful he is now behind bars.

"I feel a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and now I just need to try and look forward again and hope that more can be done now for the victims of stalking or the victims of arson."

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The star's ordeal began in September 2020 when Wyngard started a fire outside the luxury Cheshire home Welch shared with husband Lincoln Townley, with the star grateful a neighbour alerted them to the blaze.

She said: “[The fire brigade] said if they hadn’t turned up when they did, without a doubt it could have been a disaster.”

Denise Welch and Lincoln Townley were in their house when Welch's stalker started a fire. (WireImage)
Denise Welch and Lincoln Townley were in their house when Welch's stalker started a fire. (WireImage)

Welch and Townley spotted Wyngard on their CCTV cameras and passed the footage to the police, who arrested him shortly afterwards and found he was carrying a knife.

The star also discovered a chilling picture on Wyngard's social media in which he had been photographed with her at a charity event.

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Welch said she "stopped sleeping" and experienced nightmares while waiting for Wyngard to face a court and be sentenced.

"We didn’t know if he was mentally ill, if he was going to get released, if he had a gang working for him who would continue with his work and target us," she added.

“It was utterly terrifying and for six months it completely changed the way I lived my life."

Denise Welch has been a Loose Women regular since she rejoined the show's panel in 2018. (ITV)
Denise Welch has been a Loose Women regular since she rejoined the show's panel in 2018. (ITV)

The actor and presenter was supported by Cheshire Police’s Harm Reduction Unit while she waited for Wyngard's sentencing,

The stalker, who has a history of mental health problems, was jailed at Chester Crown Court on 7 April having entered a guilty plea at a hearing in October.

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Welch was a regular contributor on Loose Women from 2005 until 2013 and returned to the daytime talk show's roster in 2018.

She has also appeared as an actor in soaps including Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, as well as playing one of the lead roles in classroom drama Waterloo Road during its early series in the 2000s.

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