Denise Welch has opened up about an extremely traumatic time in her life as a stalker set fire to her £1million home during a six month reign of terror.
The Loose Women star said she feared for her life and had nightmares she would be burned alive.
Earlier this month, Toraq Wyngard, 64, was jailed for seven years and seven months, with the court hearing how Denise woke up to her husband Lincoln Townley’s “piercing scream” after a member of public alerted to the blaze in 2020, according to The Mirror .
Recalling the “utterly terrifying” ordeal, Denise said that she saw “huge sprawling flames outside the house” in September 2020, with Toraq arrested nearby carrying a kitchen knife in his rucksack.
Denise told The Sun: “I remember that we’d been to the pub that night for dinner, and I’d gone to bed early, at about 10pm, leaving Lincoln with his son, Lewis, and my brother-in-law Duncan , downstairs watching a boys’ film, volume turned up full blast as boys tend to do.
“Suddenly, I heard Lincoln screaming. I ran downstairs in my pajamas and saw huge sprawling flames outside the house, a lady had seen the fire outside as she was driving past and knocked on the front door to alert us.
Denise said she “doesn’t know if I would be here today” without her neighbours’ warning which “doesn’t bear thinking about”.
She watched in horror as Lincoln sprung into action and moved her car out of the drive.
“Within seconds of him moving it, flames started spreading rapidly, they would have caught my car and the whole thing would have gone up and exploded.” she recalled.
Denise said how she watched “everything melt” as the blaze spread to her garage, which was attached to their house, causing £4,285 worth of damage.
Denise says she has been “changed forever” by the ordeal.
The television personality said she stopped sleeping, had nightmares and shelled out £2,000 on security to feel safe in her own home.
Denise said she was petrified her stalker “might be outside, ready to attack” after he was found with a knife, with Lincoln walking her to her car for her 5am Hollyoaks starts.
On February 10 2021, while Wyngard was released under investigation, Denise and her husband 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.
CCTV showed Wyngard writing the graffiti and he was captured on CCTV at a nearby shop buying the pen.
Officers also found a number of cameras, both normal and covered, and binoculars during a search of his home address.
Toraq admitted a charge of stalking her and causing serious alarm or distress between September 18, 2020, and February 1, 2021 as well as the charges of possession of a knife, criminal damage, and arson.
His sentencing was delayed after he later attempted to change his pleas, claiming he had been “pressured” into admitting the offences, the court heard.
His application to change his pleas was rejected but Louise Cowen, defending, said Wyngard maintained he was not guilty.
She said he suffered from bipolar affective disorder and had been failing to take his medication.
Denise told the court: “This whole experience terrified me and continues to do so.”
Following his arrest, Denise has revealed that she feels a weight off her chest.
“My fear, my trauma, became anger at this point. This man tried to destroy my wonderful life. I’m just so grateful he is now behind bars,” she told.
“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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