Denise Welch has recalled the moment she discovered a fire had been started outside her home as she spoke on Loose Women about her ‘horrendous’ stalker ordeal. It is the first time the TV star has spoken on the programme about horror she and her family faced.
Earlier this month Toraq Wyngard, 64, was sentenced to seven years and seven months in prison at Chester Crown Court. The former Coronation Street actress gave evidence over video-link from the US, where she was at the time, as he was sentenced on April 7. She said: “It has changed my life. I have a wonderful life and this man has permanently scarred it.”
The court heard how at just before 11pm on September 19 2020. Wyngard, from Salford, started a fire in the driveway of Denise’s Cheshire home she shares with her husband, Lincoln Townley. Speaking about the ordeal on Thursday’s edition (April 21) of Loose Women, Denise said: “It’s been a pretty horrendous time for everybody,” before recalling what happened the night of the fire.
The 63-year-old recalled how she was in bed reading at the time when she heard a “piercing” scream and ran downstairs to find her husband and stepson in the driveway as their skip was “ablaze”.
Denise said they wouldn’t have known there was a fire if it hadn’t been for a woman who knew them through her kids’ school had been coming past and stopped to bang on their door and raise the alarm. “When we saw the fire, we weren’t even thinking what happened, I had assumed kids had flicked a cigarette into the garden or something,” she said.
“The next thing I see Lincoln looking at his phone, we had cameras installed so he was looking at them and then he went running into the churchyard opposite our house, he’d seen the offender setting fire to the skip and then walking away into the churchyard.”
While Wyngard was caught on CCTV and arrested by the police two hours later, he wasn’t charged and ended up being released and later returned to Denise’s home where he scrawled the words ‘pimp’ and ‘witch’ on her gate along with an upside-down crucifix.
The incident early last year also coincided with Denise’s father Vin becoming unwell. The star’s beloved father sadly died of pneumonia in September at the age of 84.
“The main thing that got us through was two ladies who were assigned to us from the Harm Reduction Unit because they were there for our emotional and physical wellbeing as a result of what happened because the guy came back,” Denise said.
“I was filming, I was up at 5 o’clock every morning and Lincoln got up with me every morning. We were terrified, I was terrified to go to the corner shop. It emotionally terrorises you because Lincoln and I, as all of us, have to be apart for work reasons, and I had never ever been scared. It’s completely changed that.”
Denise said the ordeal has also affected the wider family with Lincoln’s brother only recently returning to visit their home, despite knowing that the specific perpetrator is behind bars.