EastEnders: who were Steve Owen and Saskia Duncan, and why was Matthew Rose framed for murder?

If Mel won't tell Hunter the truth about his dad, then we might as well...


EastEnders’ Mel Owen has some explaining to do after son Hunter was put in the picture about his dead dad Steve’s true colours.


Far from being a loved member of the community, teenager Hunter now knows Steve was a murdering gangster, thanks to Ciara Maguire shooting her mouth off.

As Hunter learns the horrifying truth his mum shielded him from all his life, some of you may be struggling to recall the Steve Owen saga, who Saskia Duncan was and what really happened. So here’s a handy reminder of Walford’s Valentine’s Day massacre…


Who were Steve and Saskia?
Suave Steve strolled into Albert Square in 1998 to run local nightclub E20. But trouble followed him to his new manor as emotionally unstable ex-girlfriend Saskia turned up, traumatised at how he had forced her to abort their baby and begging Steve to take her back.

How did Saskia die?
After seducing Steve and failing to split him and new girlfriend Mel Healy (as she was), Saskia got sozzled and a showdown between the former couple in the E20 back office on opening night, Valentine’s Day 1999, ended with her trying to  strangle him and Steve retaliating by caving her head in with a very heavy ashtray, killing her.

Who was Matthew Rose and how was he involved?
Music-loving teenager Matthew became Steve’s little apprentice when he became the E20 DJ and burst in on bunny-boiler Saskia try to choke his boss to death. As Matthew pulled her off him it was then the ashtray struck… Because he’d witnessed the murder Steve told terrified Matthew they were in it together and to stop them both going to jail he forced him to help bury Saskia’s body in Epping forest.

How did Matthew get framed for killing Saskia?
Paranoid Matthew became a nervous wreck and panicked when Saskia’s corpse was found six months after her death, and fled Walford with girlfriend Teresa di Marco. Sinister Steve turned on his accomplice to protect himself and told the police Matthew murdered Saskia. In the subsequent trial in October 1999 Steve spun the court a pack of lies that the young DJ was obsessed with the cursed classy blonde. Matthew was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in prison while Steve walked free.

Did the truth eventually come out?
A few months on and the ashtray covered in Steve’s fingerprints was finally found (it was self-defence. Kind of…), and Matthew won an appeal to quash his conviction. Steve was scared the Rose lad would come looking for revenge, which he did a year after Saskia’s murder by tying him to a chair in the club and threatening to burn the place down with him in it. The tables were turned and Matthew was now manipulating Steve, as he had been doing for months – but he had no intention of harming him and it was all an elaborate way to forced Steve to break down and beg for mercy.

What happened next?
Content he’d taught bad boy Steve a lesson by reducing him to a gibbering wreck pleading for his life, Matthew left Walford triumphant. Steve was driven to painkiller addiction as he struggled with the consequences of his actions, and when he died in a 2002 car crash, flowers were left from Matthew on his grave with a note saying “Dear Steve, rot in hell”. Suffice to say there was no love lost between the men. Maybe Hunter should look Matthew Rose up if he wants to fill in the blanks on his dad?


You can watch our exclusive review show A Week in Walford, and a 60-second rundown of next week’s EastEnders below. Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.