Denise Welch’s stalker jailed for setting fire in TV star’s driveway

A stalker who started a fire in Loose Women star Denise Welch’s driveway and left her “terrified” has been sentenced to seven years and seven months in prison.

The former Coronation Street actress has testified via video link from the US as Toraq Wyngard, 64, was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Thursday.

She said: “It changed my life. I have a wonderful life and this man has left a lasting mark on it.”

The court heard Wyngard started a fire just before 11pm on September 19, 2020 in a shipping container outside the home Welch shares with her husband Lincoln Townley in Wilmslow, Cheshire.


Toraq Wyngard has been jailed at Chester Crown Court after setting a fire in the driveway of Loose Women star Denise Welch’s home in Cheshire (Cheshire Police / PA)

Ms Welch, who wears pink-rimmed glasses, pink lipstick and a yellow top, said she was alerted to the fire by her husband’s “piercing scream” when a member of the public knocked on her door after seeing the blaze had discovered.

The court heard £4,285 damage was caused by the fire, which spread to the garage attached to the couple’s home.

Gareth Bellis, prosecutor, said CCTV showed a man wearing a distinctive baseball cap looking around the property before apparently pouring accelerant into the container and setting it on fire.

Wyngard was later arrested nearby while wearing the cap, which was covered in metal lapel pins, and police discovered a 4-inch (10 cm) kitchen knife in his backpack.

The court heard he claimed to be a press photographer and police found two cameras in his bag.

video of the day

Officers also found a number of cameras, both regular and covert, and binoculars during a search of his home address.

On February 10, 2021, when Wyngard was released under investigation, Ms Welch and Mr Townley discovered the words ‘Witch’ and ‘Pimp’ along with an upside-down cross had been scrawled on their front gate in blue marker pen, the court was told communicated .

CCTV showed Wyngard writing the graffiti and he was held by CCTV at a nearby shop that was buying the pen.

Mr Bellis said: “These actions have caused serious concern and distress and have had a material adverse impact on the Townleys and their day-to-day activities.”

This whole experience frightened me and still doesDenise Walch

Ms Welch said in court: “This whole experience terrified me and continues to do so.”

Mr Townley, who appeared with his wife via video link, said: “My family means everything to me and the thought of not being able to protect them from this experience has left me powerless and angry.”

The court heard the couple are now spending £2,000 a month on extra security.

Wyngard, of Cannon Street in Salford, Greater Manchester, pleaded guilty at a hearing last September to stalking between September 18, 2020 and February 11, 2021 which caused serious distress or distress.

He also admitted to charges of knife possession, property damage and arson.

His sentencing was delayed after he later tried to change his objections, claiming he had been “pressured” into admitting the offences, the court heard.

His motion to amend his pleas was denied, but Louise Cowen, who defended himself, said Wyngard maintained he was not guilty.

She said he suffers from bipolar mood disorder and has not taken his medication.

Judge Michael Leeming sentenced Wyngard, saying: “You have not expressed a single word of regret, not a single word of concern for your victims.

“Your only concern is your own interests.”

He also placed Wyngard under an injunction with the condition that he not set foot in Wilmslow.

The judge said: “Given your stance on this case, your attempt to overturn your guilty pleas without proper basis and your repeated, continued denial of any criminal record, I do not see when the risk you pose to Mr and Mrs Townley could be so severe reduce that the order is no longer needed.” Denise Welch’s stalker jailed for setting fire in TV star’s driveway

Fry Electronics Team

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