Emmerdale's Robert Sugden has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering rapist Lee Posner and will spend a minimum of 14 years behind bars, the show has confirmed.
The outgoing character's fate was revealed during the first half of Thursday's (24th October) double bill after Robert pleaded guilty to the GBH charge that had been upgraded to murder following his victim's death, due to the beating Robert dished out for the sexual assault of his little sister Victoria Barton (Isabel Hodgins).
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Robert and husband Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) had attempted to go on the run, but when Mr Sugden realised his other half's little sister Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele) couldn't be left behind he accepted his inevitable fate and handed himself in.
Told by the judge that he would not even be considered for parole until his full amount of years were served, Robert was taken down as Aaron and the family looked on, as distraught as Robron fans across the country no doubt are at the decision.
Was this Robert's final scene?
However, throughout the twists and turns of his exit storyline Emmerdale has remained consistently tight-lipped about when Rob's actual final scene will air – so it's still not clear if we've seen the last of him. Could there be one more tear-stained jail visit for the boys, or a last-minute prison break before he's gone for good?
There was another twist in the tale as Vic discovered that handsome stranger Luke, who she'd been flirting with since a chance meeting at the hospital, was actually Lee's brother, but claimed he had no idea of their link despite her accusing him of deliberately infiltrating her life.
Hawley announced earlier this year that he had quit the role he's played since 2014, taking over from Karl Davies almost a decade after the character had last been a regular. A core part of Emmerdale's 'first family', Robert is the eldest son of the late, legendary Jack Sugden.
“I will miss the show massively, it has been a huge part of my life,” he commented. “I love working here, it’s very emotional to be leaving."
Aaron now faces a Robert-less future, but Miller is relishing the challenge to take his alter ego forward. "Ryan and I have a level of trust and understanding I’ll miss, it’s been full on but we work so well together.
“We had great chemistry right from our first scene and the producers must have seen that. It's weird he’s going but I guess everything good comes to an end. It won't be the same without him, but the show goes on so to speak. And it will be interesting to see what happens with Aaron still in the village.”
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