Emmerdale‘s manipulative predator Maya Stepney (Louisa Clein) was sentenced to 12 months in prison on Thursday 20th June as the courts revealed their verdict on the toxic teacher’s inappropriate text messages to pupil Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant), who she groomed into a sexual relationship.
As Jacob is still under evil Maya’s spell he still doesn’t see anything wrong with their affair and is too brainwashed to realise he has been the victim of systematic abuse by the ex-fiancee of his dad David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden). Consequently, he has refused to report her to the police meaning the charges brought against her are only for the racy text contact and not her abusive physical and psychological coercion of the vulnerable schoolboy.
Jacob’s mum Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi) attempted to elicit a confession out of her son’s tormentor but ended up incriminating herself by teaming up with the lad’s former stepmums Priya Kotecha (Fiona Wade) and Tracy Metcalfe (Amy Walsh), with misguided intimidation ending in assault, getting the ladies nowhere.
Maya has continued to secretly pursue Jacob and meet him in secret in the run-up to her court appearance, breaking her bail conditions. With the judge unaware of this, he delivered his decision, stating: “Rather than maintain boundaries between home and school, you betrayed your employer, your partner and the young man at the centre of this, who was 15 years old when the sexual communication took place.
“I am in no doubt that this case passes the custody threshold, and while I give credit for the guilty plea I sentence you to 12 months immediate imprisonment…”
How will Jacob react to Maya being sent to prison?
Speaking to RadioTimes.com recently about Maya facing the legal ramifications of her abusive actions, Clein commented: “She can’t comprehend the possibility of jail, as she doesn’t think she’s in the wrong. I suppose she considers a rap on the knuckles, a non-custodial or suspended sentence after which she could move away and try to rebuild her life on her own somewhere else.”
Fans have been calling for the slow-burning storyline to see Maya punished, but is the sentence harsh enough? “Viewers want to see justice and need to see the correct retribution for Maya,” Clein said. “Everyone is excited and interested in how it’s going to finish, or at least how this part of the story will end.”
David, Jacob, Leyla looked on from the gallery as the announcement came at the end of the first in a double bill on Thursday 20th June – viewers will have to wait until the second instalment airing at 8.00pm to witness the full fallout and see how Jacob himself reacts.
Visit our dedicatedEmmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.