Belle Dingle (Eden Taylor-Draper) has been sentenced to three years in youth custody after being found guilty of manslaughter.
Despite a public show of forgiveness in the courtroom from grieving Dom Andrews (Wil Johnson), Belle received a punishment that was more severe than either she or her family was expecting.
Prior to the ruling, young Belle – who has been on trial for killing best friend Gemma Andrews – was seen telling frantic mum Lisa (Jane Cox) that she thought she’d soon be freed: “One year, that’s what they’re saying,” said Belle, “I could be home in six months.”
But despite the judge recognising that Belle was genuinely remorseful for her actions, he still handed down a prolonged sentence: “Belle Dingle, I’m sentencing you to three years in youth custody. Please take her down,” he ordered during scenes just broadcast by ITV.
Following the decision, Dom left the village on his motorbike, telling Zak (Steve Halliwell) that he would be thinking of Belle and that she would be home before they knew it.
Lisa, though, was left doubting her parenting skills as she fretted to James Barton (Bill Ward) about whether she could bear the repercussions of the sentencing. Next week’s episodes will see further angst for the Dingles as Sam (James Hooton) is sentenced following his plans to abscond with Belle.
Zak’s determined to go to court with Sam and he reassures Lisa they’ll get through it together. What will Sam’s sentence be? And can the Dingles take any more grief?
Emmerdale continues on Monday 16 June at 7.30pm on ITV