EastEnders has revealed the identity of the assailant who leaves Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) for dead after lashing out in a violent attack, and it’s quite a curveball: Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner) whacked the hard man over the head with a spanner to stop him hurting her husband Martin Fowler (James Bye) and cousin Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace).
Tuesday 30th July’s much-hyped episode ended in a violent showdown between a riled Phil and a terrified Kat as he cornered her in the deserted Arches after she drunkenly taunted him about stealing his money.
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Martin spied their spat which spilled from the Queen Vic across the Square to the garage, and when threats towards Kat’s kids started to be thrown out he sneakily followed them, sensing something big was about to go down.
But Phil didn’t take kindly to his interference and after slinging insults about Stacey, he started beating the fruit and veg vendor as Kat screamed – then Stace appeared out of nowhere behind the Mitchell patriarch and knocked him out with a handy spanner…
Now Phil lies unconscious in the Arches pit, and presumably Stacey, Martin and Kat will be forced to put their recent squabbles aside to cover their tracks and back each other up. This feels very much like it’s setting up Stacey’s upcoming temporary exit to accommodate Lacey Turner’s maternity leave (the actress and husband Matt Kay recently became parents to a baby girl, Dusty Violet), but how exactly might she depart after such a dramatic twist?
On the run?
We know Phil is rushed to hospital with his life on the line after he’s left for dead on Thursday 1st August, and “those involved take drastic action to cover their tracks” according to a source, so expect a mass panic as the Arches trio scarper and hope no one saw them. The best way to avoid suspicion is to do a runner, and it’s not Stace’s first time at the ‘What To Do After Smacking a Mitchell Thug Over The Bonce’ rodeo, having fled to South America in 2010 when evidence surfaced she’d bludgeoned Archie Mitchell with a snow globe.
Six to nine months for assault will see Lacey’s maternity leave out nicely: Stacey might decide she doesn’t want to brush her crime under the carpet as she did with evil Archie and wait years for the law to catch up with her, so she might come clean and do the time. Someone’s arrested on Monday 5th August – is it her?
You’ve been framed?
Stacey being the attacker was a genuine surprise as ‘Enders had deliberately pointed fans in the direction of Ben Mitchell or Keanu Taylor as the most likely to lash out, constructing believable motives for both men. As evidence stacks up against a local on Tuesday 6th August, we think Kat and Martin will take advantage of this and try to coax Stacey into pinning this on one of them (both had believable beef with the bald bloke), leading to a big falling out with Mrs Fowler when they disagree over blaming an innocent party and she strops off.
Someone else could easily be set up for the assault as Phil didn’t actually see who walloped him, but if Stacey did go along with it expect her to get an attack of the guilts and not be able to live with herself. After much gnashing of teeth behind the Slater kitchen door with her co-conspirators who are putting pressure on her to let Ben (for instance) rot in a cell, Stacey could scoop her kids up and take off for a relaxing change of scene to Little Mo’s or Lynne’s until all this dies down. Whatever happens, the cops reckon they’ve nailed the case once and for all on Thursday 8th August…
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