Coronation Street: Sally’s prison hell – what could she learn from 5 other wrongly jailed Weatherfield women?

How will Mrs Metcalfe survive in the big house?

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Coronation Street’s Sally Metcalfe is banged up for fraud, having incriminated herself during a disastrous pre-trial hearing which has led to her being held on remand until her court date comes through. Tonight’s double Corrie (Friday 21 September) saw her spell inside get off to a terrible start as she fell foul of her cellmate and crumbled at the first sign of trouble. And she’s done nothing wrong, having been framed by conniving bogus businessman Duncan Radfield.

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Sally needs to know some basic ground rules if she’s going to survive prison, and luckily (or should that be ‘unluckily’?) several other innocent women of Weatherfield have found themselves behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. So what could the disgraced former mayor learn from their experiences?

Don’t get too close to your cellmate
The nation was outraged when Deirdre Rachid was framed for fraud by conman Jon Lindsay and slung in the slammer in 1998, with then Prime Minister Tony Blair famously rallying the ‘Free the Weatherfield One’ campaign. Distressed Deirdre tried to keep her head down for the three weeks she was inside (was it only three weeks?!) but rough scouse cellmate Jackie Dobbs had her back – particularly when it came to sadistic screw Veitch. Thinking she’d never see her again after her conviction was quashed, Deidre was disconcerted when Jackie showed up on the street after she got parole looking for a place to stay, a reminder of her dark time behind bars. Jackie brought chaos to the cobbles, as well as teenage son Tyrone who she left behind with the kindly Duckworths when she abandoned him for a fella. Except now it turns out Jackie wasn’t Ty’s biological mother at all, but that’s another story involving Maureen Lipman.

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Don’t trust anyone – even people you know
Gail was on dead husband number three in 2010 (only one of her five husbands is still alive – no wonder Martin Platt emigrated to New Zealand) when she was jailed after doomed spouse Joe McIntyre cocked-up his canoe-man style fake-your-death-for-the-life insurance scam, concocted to get him out of the debt he’d racked up thanks to a painkiller addiction. When Joe died for real in the staged accident (the irony), it looked like Gail had bumped him off, and she went to jail where she was pleased to see a familiar face in old neighbour Tracy Barlow who was doing time for murdering Charlie Stubbs. Sly Trace spotted an opportunity and pretended to take shaky Gail under her wing, then lied to the police she had confided in her she had actually killed Joe with a rolling pin, hoping it would secure her an early release. What happened to community spirit?

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Don’t try and escape too early in your sentence
Pat Phelan ruthlessly fitted up Anna Windass for assault in order to get his nemesis out of the way so he could continue to his reign of terror, and she was dragged kicking and screaming to the big house just a few months back knowing the bullying builder was still a clear and present danger to the community. But breaking out to try and clear your name without a concrete plan wasn’t the smartest of moves on Anna’s part, and when she fled to try and get more evidence proving Pat was poison she was thrown back inside after hiding out for a few days. It did her no favours.

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Don’t be a lagger
Fans of Bad Girls, Prisoner: Cell Block H and Wentworth will know the perils of dobbing someone in, or ‘lagging’ – that is to inform the authorities of fellow prisoners’ misconducts. It won’t endear you to the other inmates because no one likes a grass, do they? Pity Fiz Stape hadn’t seen any of those aforementioned jail-set dramas as during her time inside for husband John’s crimes in 2009 she told the screws about a drugs racket masterminded by one of the prisoners – and got a beating for blabbing. Pay attention, Metcalfe…

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Don’t be gullible
This ship has already sailed for Sal, as it’s falling for Duncan Radfield’s smooth-talking that’s got her incarcerated in the first place, but there’s a lesson to be learned in being taken in by mean men, which is the common thread running through all of these cases. It may be on a whole other level, but Eileen Grimshaw allowed herself to be duped by dastardly Pat Phelan (him again!) and she was held in a cell on suspicion of being an accessory to double murder when his callous crimes were revealed. Sally needs to wise up, get tough, stop being fooled so easily and under no circumstances entrust anyone else with her phone credits.

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