Emmerdale's Victoria Barton (Isabel Hodgins) has revealed that she was raped during the doomed 'Big Night Out', recounting the horrific ordeal she endured in a flashback to last month's game-changing episode on Wednesday 8th May.
Confirming unconfirmed press reports earlier this year that a sexual assault storyline was planned for the character, vulnerable Vic opened up to stepmum Moira Dingle (Natalie J Robb) about what happened after she was separated from her friends during that fateful evening in Hotten on Thursday 25th April when the nightclub they were in was evacuated due to a fire alarm.
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Viewers saw her and ex-boyfriend Ellis Chapman (Asan N'Jie) try to make each other jealous by flirting with random partygoers. When Vic went off to find big brother Robert Sugden so they could get a taxi home together she ran into Lee, who she had been chatting with earlier in the bar.
Appearing to be the perfect gent as he rescued her from his drunken mate John's unwanted advances, Lee suggested he and Victoria carry on the evening and head into Leeds for a late drink. Declining at first, Vic changed her mind when she spied Ellis snogging another girl from afar, so she took the plunge and grabbed a cab with Lee.
The pair were then thrown out of the taxi for scoffing a kebab en route, breaking the 'no eating in the cab' rule, and Lee offered to walk his new friend home the rest of the way to Emmerdale. Cheekily inviting himself in for a cuppa, saying he'd call a cab from there, Lee and Victoria got to know each other as chemistry developed, but Vic politely made it clear it was time for him to leave and told him to ring his taxi while she got ready for bed.
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Events took a sinister turn when Lee appeared in her bedroom and forcefully kissed her, becoming aggressive when she told him to get out. "Nobody likes a tease," he growled, grabbing her by the hair as she tried to escape and throwing her down on the bed with his hand over her mouth.
From the other side of the closed bedroom door, viewers heard muffled screams and sounds of a struggle. A few scenes later, Lee calmly put his clothes on and silently left the house, with a shaken and bruised Victoria lying on the bed, terrified as she processed the attack.
"Victoria's life changes forever as a result of going to the club," star Isabel Hodgins says, teasing what happens following her admission to Moira. "The events will have a massive and long-lasting impact on not only her, but her family too."
The incident explains Victoria's distant, erratic behaviour since the night out, which has left locals confused. Emmerdale has been retelling the Big Night Out all week in a series of flashbacks from the point of view of several characters whose plots peaked and exploded as a result of letting their hair down in the Hotten bar.
Viewers have already seen Billy Fletcher (Jay Kontzle) reveal his part in the stabbing of brother Ellis, and know Maya Stepney (Louisa Clein) survived the attempt on her life by Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi) and is being secretly harboured by groomed schoolboy lover Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant).
Will Victoria's rapist be brought to justice now she's spoken out? Can Moira persuade her to tell the police? Emmerdale's flashback week continues on Thursday 9th May with a double bill at 7pm and 8pm.
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