The identity of Leyla Harding’s (Roxy Shahidi) stalker in Emmerdale has finally been revealed, with troubled teenager Gabby Thomas (Rosie Bentham) confirmed as the culprit after a violent altercation left the terrified wedding planner severely shaken.
Unlucky Leyla has been the target of an intimidation campaign for months that has seen her business sabotaged, premises ransacked and a fake online dating profile being created, among other personal attacks.
As it appeared the purpose of sick pranks was to drive a wedge between her and boyfriend Liam Cavanagh (Jonny McPherson), Leyla initially accused her lover’s bratty daughter Leanna Cavanagh (Mimi Slinger), who denied the claims despite the ladies being far from friends.
However, Monday 10th August’s episode resolved the mystery as Leanne’s best mate Gabby was seen secretly tending to an injury when she returned home suspiciously flustered, shortly after Leyla threw a vase at the mystery assailant who had broken into her office and daubed ‘dirty skank’ on the wall in graffiti.
Some fans may have already joined the dots after a telling recent exchange between Gabby and her auntie Nicola King. Upset Gabs made it clear she blamed her mum Bernice’s decision to stay in Australia and sell her beauty salon in the village on Leyla, who swiftly swooped in on single Liam after Bernice jilted him last year.
Gabby has also felt like a third wheel in Leanna’s burgeoning romance with Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant), so we can assume her increasing loneliness and feelings of rejection and being ignored have pushed her into lashing out at the person she feels responsible for her unhappiness – oblivious Leyla.
Following the scary incident at Take A Vow, Leyla calls the cops and reports the break-in, but as she pieces the evidence together the canny brunette develops a strong suspicion as to who is behind the horrifying series of events. So how will she react when she learns it’s a schoolgirl with a grudge?
“Given the right set of circumstances, Leyla can be very forgiving and understanding,” says Shahidi. “So it depends on what the motives are for the person who is doing this. Equally, Leyla is also someone who sticks up for herself and won’t be walked all over.
“Once she finds out, she’ll act accordingly depending on who that person is…”
Could Gabby be the latest local teenager on a slippery path to becoming a juvenile delinquent, following Sarah Sugden’s recent robbery of the Sharma house?