Emmerdale spoilers: Donna plans to flee following botched robbery, reveals Verity Rushworth

Ross Barton's volent actions could spell trouble for a panicked Donna

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Donna Windsor is to be left wracked with guilt next week when a robbery has terrible consequences. After criminal cohort Ross Barton (Michael Parr) targets a jewellers, the business owner George ends up in hospital following a brutal confrontation. Has Donna got herself in too deep? And what does the shock event mean for her association with Ross? Actress Verity Rushworth tells us more:

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So, how is Donna coping with life on the other side of the law?
Life is very tense for Donna at the moment. Her morals have always been in the right place so this goes against everything she believes in. But she’s putting April first, she knows she hasn’t got long left, so times are desperate for Donna. She is struggling. She’s a good police officer, but needs must.

Does she worry that those around her might begin to suspect her?
That’s one of her biggest worries. But at the moment she has tunnel vision: she has a goal and she just has to get there. She knows that time is running out, she’s lost all her savings and although she is worried about people finding out, she’s just focused on what needs to be done.

Is she finding it hard to keep her distance from Ross?
Yes, she knows that Ross is all wrong for her and that she shouldn’t be seen with him, but she just fancies him. Whenever she’s around him, she goes all soft and girly. It’s like a moth to a flame.

What are her feelings for him – love or lust?
At the moment, it’s lust. He’s a means to an end – he’s been helping her with the criminal activities because he’s so good at them. But it turned into lust. She didn’t see that happening and it’s left her quite confused by her feelings.

How emotional is April’s christening?
It’s a really emotional time for Donna. It’s one of the main events that April will have as a memory after Donna dies, which is really sad. Donna is also hoping to attend Marlon and Laurel’s wedding, but the christening could be the last event that she and April get to attend together.

What’s her reaction when she sees Ross’s injuries after the botched burglary?
That’s a terrifying moment for Donna. She feels that April would be in danger should anyone else find out what’s happened. She goes into panic mode because Ross didn’t stick to the plan. She’s furious. She never meant to hurt anybody – it was supposed to be a victimless crime. And her own dad was killed during a burglary at a post office, so this is all too close to home. It’s horrendous.

What happens when she goes to the crime scene?
She doesn’t expect to see George in such a bad way. It’s such a shock for Donna and she’s absolutely guilt-ridden.

So is it starting to dawn on her that she’s fallen for a dangerous guy?
She hasn’t had these kind of feelings for a while, so she’s quite baffled by them. Ross has got something and Donna doesn’t know what it is. But every time he goes in for a kiss, she can’t resist. The sexual chemistry is too strong.

How does she feel when – at the hospital – she discovers how severe George’s condition is?
Donna finds out that it could be fatal. Prior to this, she didn’t realise how bad it was because Ross hadn’t explained it to her. So when she’s told that he could die, Donna realises that she could go to prison for murder. It’s suddenly got a lot more serious and she starts to think about getting April away from the village.

So is Donna considering fleeing Emmerdale and taking April from Marlon?
She is worried about that aspect of it, but it’s only ever going to be temporary for April. Donna is just instinctively protecting April from any harm and letting the dust settle while the police investigates.

Are you enjoying the fact that she’s tapped into her inner bad girl?
It’s lovely for me as an actress to be able to tap into her dark side. There are lots of different levels to the story. And I love working with Michael Parr [who plays Ross]. He’s a good mate and we have a laugh. So I’m having lots of fun.

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And do you think Donna should tell Ross about how ill she is?
Donna has purposefully not told Ross because other people are going to find out soon enough and she wants to keep something for herself. She likes to go to a place where she doesn’t have to talk about the illness and be looked at as a victim. He’s her guilty pleasure.