With Emma Barton murdered yet another Emmerdale whodunnit is underway and there are plenty of villagers in the frame when it come to the suspect list, including both of Emma’s surviving sons Ross and Pete. So who do you think killed Emma?
Let’s face it, by the time she went flying from the top of Hotten’s Viaduct, Emma Barton (Gillian Kearney) had upset most of the village so it is no wonder there is a list of possible suspects. The police have forensic evidence from Emma’s body that proves she struggled with someone before she went sailing off the viaduct. Also there’s a lot of guilty faces in the village, and holes appearing in certain characters’ alibis faster than Rebecca White can blink.
Emmerdale series producer Iain MacLeod said: “Now we’ve revealed Emma’s death as a ‘whodunit’, there’s lots of characters to point the finger at, because Emma’s trodden on so many peoples’ toes in the village that there’s no shortage of potential suspects…”
So who are the suspects and what evidence has been gathered so far?
Ross has been acting extremely shifty and we know he saw Emma as she fell from the Viaduct. We have also seen him burning her handbag and its belongings but when his brother confronted him, he told Pete about where he was and what he saw as their mother lay dying. Given Emma had killed his little brother as well as trying to kill him as a child, you wouldn’t exactly blame Ross but for us he’s the too obvious choice.
Actor Michael Parr is playing it cool though: “There would be some kind of justice in there, perhaps! Ross has so many reasons to have revenge on her because of what she did. But predominantly for the fact that she is not quite the full shilling and has caused so many problems since she got here. But maybe it could have been an accident and he didn’t mean to kill her – who knows? I only know what I’ve filmed, but everybody has got a genuine reason that you could easily buy into.”
“He clearly has his reasons for wanting Emma dead. He was furious when he discovered she had killed his dad, so in essence it would have been for revenge.
“Ross never wanted Emma in their lives again. And he always saw through her. He had never forgiven her for walking out on them as young boys or for nearly killing him when he was a baby. So killing his dad and his brother would have definitely pushed him to the edge of his tolerance of her.
“Ross is more than capable of murder. Not only because he had so much loathing for his mother, but he has had a dodgy past. Don’t forget he also arranged a pact with Andy Sugden when they planned to swap roles and kill each other’s brothers.
“Ross shot Robert as part of that agreement, so he kept his side of the bargain, but it turned out Andy didn’t go ahead with his side of it.”
Since the death of his mother and brother, Pete Barton has been stomping round Emmerdale looking for someone to blame, even pointing the finger at his own brother.
This week he starts looking for others to blame, even though he too went missing for a while ‘looking for Emma’. First in his sights is young Gabby Thomas. Pete becomes suspicious after finding flowers and a cryptic apology message at the viaduct. Pete pressures Gabby to admit leaving the flowers on the viaduct and confess to hating Emma, asking if she killed his mum but Laurel steps in before she can answer.
He may not get the answers he wants but he is soon pointing the finger at his half-brother Adam Barton (Adam Thomas) when he discovers Adam has had his tyres changed. Pete confronts him over it which leads to Adam getting angry so Pete shares his suspicions with Ross and the police.
Actor Anthony Quinlan said: “Pete has huge guilt that when Finn was missing for two days, he didn’t do more. He also thought he had a new son with Moira and then immediately discovered Emma had taken him from the hospital.
“Pete is not himself at the moment. He and Ross have absolutely no trust between each other and are both suspicious of each other. Pete to date has been the happy go lucky brother, but things have gone wrong. His relationships in the village have broken down after his affair with Priya and he’s been dealing with a lot of stress.
“Finn was his adored younger brother, so he would never forgive Emma for killing him and his dad. Plus, she had taken his baby, so yes he’s got more than enough motive. Also, don’t forget that Pete did leave Ross for dead. So he does have it in him.”
Although Cain Dingle never had much to do with Emma Barton, she still seemed to find a way to get under his skin. If outing his relationship with vicar Harriet Finch wasn’t enough. threatening his ex Moira Dingle and then stealing her baby was enough to make him see red – regardless of who the father was.
There is a period of time where Cain’s whereabouts are unaccounted for – from when he and Adam went their separate ways at the farm and when he turned up at the hospital with Moira. So what happened in between, because we now know the alibi Moira gave him was false too.
Jeff Hordley, who plays Cain, said: “Cain wants to protect Moira. Emma putting Moira in danger could probably be enough motive for Cain to finish her off.
“When Emma stole the baby, he would’ve seen red and thought: ‘There’s a problem here and I need to go and sort this’. Although Cain didn’t realise he was the dad, a small part of him probably knew he was. Cain just wanted to protect Moira and find the baby.”
“Cain has never stopped loving Moira. She has told him on numerous occasions that it’s over, though, so he’s had to move on. Otherwise, he would be with her. He realised he made a mistake when he went off with Charity and has regretted it ever since. Even though they haven’t been together, Cain has made it known that he is there to support Moira if she needs him.”
“We’ve seen the lengths Cain will go to when he’s angry many times before – he’s thrown a lot of people into the boot of his car for a start. He’s been much more mature lately, but the Cain of old never leaves him really. I’ve always said he has the potential to snap. It’s in his DNA.”
One of the few people in the village who knew exactly what Emma was capable of was young Gabby Thomas. On her return to Emmerdale, Gabby soon became well aware of just how badly she’d manipulated both her dad Ashley and brother Arthur.
Gabby had a number of heated clashes with Emma in the build-up to her death, and she also acted strangely around the time of the murder. At one point, she left The Woolpack to charge her phone, but returned much later with cold hands and full of excuses for her disappearing act.
This week she buys some roses and leaves them at the viaduct where Emma died. Guilty conscience?
Rosie Bentham, who plays Gabby, explains: “Gabby knew things were getting out of control with Emma and she rang her mum to get help. Could Gabby have gone one step too far? She’s acting very guilty and perhaps has something to confess.”
When he found his mum lying on the ground, in agony and holding a new baby to her chest, with Emma standing over her, there was only one way Adam Barton was going to react. He picked up a shotgun and chased her.
Not known for doing the most sensible things in these types of situations (and yet he’s been involved in so many, will he ever learn?) Adam left Moira with his wife Victoria while he made chase into the woods. After a confrontation with Emma, which saw him losing the gun to his foe, a gunshot rang out into the forest. So when Adam found the gun, he picked it up. Nice one Ads!
Now Adam lets it slip that he had the tyres replaced on his car, just as the police are looking at all the wheels on each of the suspect’s vehicles.
Adam Thomas, who plays Adam, admitted: “Adam knows he’s got a pretty dodgy track record and a terrible alibi. He ran after Emma into the woods with a gun. Even his wife Victoria has doubts over whether Adam has done it. Adam is really worried and is trying to get people like Moira to cover for him. He’s been dug out of a few scrapes before.
“Adam is so protective of his mother, he will have taken what happened really badly. Plus, he feels aggrieved that because Emma killed his dad, he never got the time to get to know him. Adam was taking it slowly regarding building bridges with his dad, but Emma denied him that.”
Let’s face it – Moira Dingle and Emma Barton were never going to be besties! After a fling with James that resulted in Adam being his son, the pair also had another sexual encounter once James had reunited with Emma. It was Emma’s discovery that James still loved Moira and she was essentially ‘second best’ that started the chain of events which lead to James’ death.
After being attacked by Emma in the barn but then rescued by her attacker, who also helped deliver her shock baby, Moira was taken to hospital so you’d think she’d have an alibi. But when she heard Emma had snatched the baby, which she believed to be fathered by her son Pete, Moira left hospital and started a search party of her own.
When the baby was found, Moira was at the farm and was going to wait for Adam to collect her, however when he showed up, Moira was nowhere to be found. The next time we saw Moira was when she was brought into the hospital by estranged husband Cain – with no explanation of where she had been found.
Natalie J Robb, who plays Moira, added: “Moira definitely had motive. She was put in extreme danger in the barn by Emma and then Emma took her baby. Moira would have seen red at this. We even saw her grab her gun.
“Moira is very maternal, but also as hard as nuts. She always puts her kids first. It is a year since she lost Holly, then she has a new baby and within minutes Emma has posed a threat to her new child. Moira would not have tolerated that. Moira will protect her kids at any cost and could well have seen Emma off, but you will have to wait and see.
“Moira is a suspect because of the history she has with Emma from way back. Moira has slept with James and Pete in the past. She likes to try something young and old!
“Obviously James was the father of Adam, but Emma had real issues with that and wasn’t happy. When Emma came to Emmerdale, obviously she wanted some revenge, but other things happened and she gained Moira’s trust.
“She’d also just tried to kill Moira, so there’s another big reason why Moira is a suspect!Everyone has their breaking point, but when it comes to something like that, I just don’t know if that’s her thing. She is a little bit like mother earth. Even though she hasn’t always been the best mother, I think she’d always try to be. I think her reason and her mind would end up kicking in, as it has done in the past.”
Given the fireworks that had gone off between Laurel and Emma, viewers were shocked when Laurel suddenly went to visit her sister just as things with Emma were coming to a head. Surely Laurel would be there to witness Emma’s downfall?
This week we discover that Laurel has actually been lying about her whereabouts at the time of Emma’s death when Gabby finds an incriminating train ticket which proves that she’s not telling the truth.
Laurel is then seen making frantic phone calls to her sister in order to cover her tracks. Gabby had phoned Laurel prior to Emma’s death, begging her to come home. Could Laurel have rushed back for a showdown with Emma after hearing Gabby’s message?
Charlotte Bellamy, who plays Laurel, explained: “Every fibre of Laurel hates what Emma did to Ashley. And then, of course, there’s what Emma did to Arthur. Finding out she mentally tortured a 10-year-old boy who was totally vulnerable was Laurel’s worst nightmare.”
Speaking to Digital Spy, Natalie confirmed that at least three different endings will be filmed to preserve the secrecy surrounding the storyline.
Show bosses don’t want the identity of Emma’s killer to be known until the night of the big reveal, especially with plenty of twists and turns ahead in the coming weeks.
Natalie said: “The twists and turns in the storyline are great, because it keeps changing all the time. One minute you think it’s a certain person, and then you change your mind.
“Doing alternative endings has been good for us, because we don’t know what eventually might go out.
“I think it’s three endings that we’re doing. We don’t know which one we might use. We genuinely don’t know.”
Whomever the culprit is, Series Producer Iain Macleod is already planning their punishment. Iain explained: “The soap gods must have their vengeance, but we’ll have to see the story as it plays out. I say this with fingers crossed in the hope that we don’t have to do it, but Robert Sugden’s killed somebody and I certainly don’t think anyone’s clamouring to get him out.
“The wheel of karma probably means that whoever has killed Emma, in some ways hasn’t committed as big a crime as if they’d killed a God-fearing, law-abiding, lovely and innocent character. There’s a certain sense, in my mind anyway, that whoever has done this is like an agent of God.
“But if you’ve got blood on your hands in a soap, you can’t just get away with it. Even if the consequences aren’t legal ones, there has to be some comeuppance, I suppose. And there will be!”
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