Emmerdale hard man Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) is left battered and beaten to within an inch of his life on Tuesday 1 January as he tries to get revenge on the thugs who attacked stepson Matty Barton (Ash Palmasciano). Haunted by delivering the fatal blow that killed Joe Tate – or so he believes – Cain is gripped by the traumatic memory that stops him in his tracks at the worst possible moment…
Matty was stunned to see Isaac, an ex-boyfriend from their life as Hannah before he transitioned, at a New Year’s Eve party in the village, and when Isaac realised who Matty was his bigoted mates ribbed him for having dated someone transgender.
Verbal abuse turned physical as the gang later attacked Matty in the street, ripping his clothes and leaving him vulnerable and humiliated. The morning after, viewers will see the beaten Barton boy confide in Cain but begs him not to tell mum Moira (Natalie J Robb) as he doesn’t want to worry her, but he accidentally lets slip to his wife the details of the horrid hate crime.
Deciding to deal with this as only he knows how, Cain tracks down Isaac via social media, with the help of Victoria Barton (Isobel Hodgins) and confronts him. However, as he grabs the lad by his collar he suddenly freezes as a flashback of what happened to Joe flickers through his mind.
Why doesn’t Cain report the attack to the police?
“Cain confronts Isaac but as he goes to punch him he can’t go through with it,” says Hordley. “Something triggers and he is taken back to what he did to Joe. It totally throws him, he reels, back tracks and tells Isaac and his mates to stay away.”
It’s not often Cain Dingle runs away from a fight, so the rowdy mob soon take advantage and turn the tables, circling the terrified fella before laying into him.
“This guy sees a chink in Cain’s armour, gets his pals and they surround him. It’s PTSD from Joe, Cain just can’t fight back. At first Cain tries to calmly leave and make it look like he’s letting Isaac off, but as he gets in the car he’s dragged out and beaten. It’s horrific, they jump on him like animals. Cain has been emasculated before but never like this. He doesn’t feel like himself.”
Later in the week, Cain is still reeling and pride prevents him from reporting the incident. Not only that, he also worries to Moira if the police get involved they could start digging around and he could end up revealing what happened to Joe. But Matty takes the matter out of his hands when he goes to the cops himself… Will Cain’s dark secret be exposed?
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