Loose Women star Denise Welch has said she is “relieved” after a man pleaded guilty to a “terrifying” stalking campaign.
Toraq Wyngard, 53, admitted stalking the Hollyoaks actress, causing serious alarm or distress, between September 18 last year and February 11, ahead of a trial at Chester Crown Court on Monday, a spokesman for Cheshire Police said.
He also pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a knife, criminal damage, and arson, after setting fire to a skip in the driveway of the Cheshire home Welch shares with husband Lincoln Townley, the force said.
In a statement released by police, Welch said: “Lincoln and I are very relieved that Toraq Wyngard, otherwise known as Todd, has pleaded guilty.
“This has been an incredibly terrifying and stressful time for me and our family.
“We are grateful to the fire service for their prompt action saving our house and to the police for their amazing vigilance and support.
“Special thanks go to the Harm Reduction Unit assigned to us who have guided us through this horrible time every step of the way.”
Wyngard, of Cannon Street in Salford, Greater Manchester, was found near to the star’s home on September 19 last year when police were called to the fire, which spread from the skip to the garage attached to the property, police said.
When officers searched him, a knife was found in his backpack.
Detective Sergeant Dave Thomason said: “Wyngard’s actions were causing Denise great distress and a trial would have further impacted on her, so I’m pleased that he has now pleaded guilty.
“I’d like to thank Denise for her bravery in coming forward and I hope this reassures other victims that we do listen and take action against those who carry out such distressing crimes in our communities.
“Our Specialist Victim Advocates in the Harm Reduction Unit have been supporting Denise and her husband throughout – providing practical support, safety planning and advocacy.
“The Specialist Victims’ Advocates are currently providing direct support to a number of stalking victims across Cheshire in highly complex stalking cases, and I hope seeing this outcome will give others going through a similar ordeal the confidence to come forward and get the support and advice they need to end their nightmare.
“We will listen and we will help you get the right support in your case, just as we have done with Denise. Don’t suffer in silence, call us on 101 or report it via our website.”
Wyngard is due to be sentenced on October 26 after the case was adjourned for psychiatric reports.
Welch, 63, who played Natalie Barnes in Coronation Street, is a regular panellist on Loose Women and has also appeared on Waterloo Road and as a contestant on Dancing On Ice.