A 53-year-old man from Salford has pleaded guilty to a number of offences on the first day of his trial at Chester Crown Court today (Monday 27 September). Toraq Wyngard, from Cannon Street, Salford admitted possession of a knife, criminal damage, arson and stalking causing serious alarm or distress, following a campaign targeting Denise Townley, also known as Denise Welch, between 18 September 2020 and 11 February 2021.
During his disturbing stalking campaign, on 19 September 2020 Wyngard went onto Mrs Townley’s property and set fire to the skip on her driveway which spread to the garage attached to her property. On arrival, police officers found Wyngard nearby and on searching his backpack discovered a knife.
DS Dave Thomason from Cheshire Constabulary’s Harm Reduction Unit 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.”
Denise said of the guilty pleas:
“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 is due to be sentenced on 26 October 2021, pending psychiatric reports.