A controversial face from the past returns to Hollyoaks on Friday 21st June (E4 showing) when rapist Finn O’Connor makes his first appearance since 2017, following actor Keith Rice’s departure as a regular cast member in 2014.
While Sinead Shelby (Stephanie Davis) languishes in prison for giving false evidence against evil husband Laurie Shelby (Kyle Pryor) that has seen him escape punishment for sexually assaulting her, Diane Hutchinson (Alex Fletcher) is at a loss as to how she can help her incarcerated daughter get justice.
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She decides to visit Sinead’s brother, stepson Finn, who is in jail for raping his teacher John Paul McQueen and the attempted rape of Nancy Osborne, hoping to get inside the mind of a rapist and find a way to bring Laurie down.
After their tense reunion in the prison visiting room, Diane confronts predator Laurie at the school prom on Monday 24th June – has Finn given her advice to aid her quest to destroy the acting head teacher of Hollyoaks High? And when Finn is released in the next few months, how will the community – including his sister – react?
When did Finn O’Connor first appear in Hollyoaks?
The character of Finn was introduced in 2010 – originally played by Connor Wilkinson – along with the rest of the O’Connor family: dad Rob (Gary Cargill), sister Sinead and stepmother Diane.
Immature Finn was engulfed in an underage sex scandal and became a father at the age of 12 when girlfriend Amber Sharpe (Lydia Lloyd-Henry) fell pregnant. She left the village and gave birth to a girl, Amba, in 2011 but Finn chose to have no involvement in her upbringing and left the village with Rob when his marriage to Diane ended.
The part was recast in 2013 with Rice making Finn a menacing one-man crimewave with serious issues. His intimidation of teacher Mr McQueen led to a horrific sexual assault which John Paul kept quiet about for months while his poisonous pupil taunted him.
In 2014 Amba returned with Bella and Finn hoped he had a second chance at being a parent, but their reunion was soured when it emerged she was only after money. Riled up he clashed with Nancy and tried to rape her, and it was Mrs Osborne’s testimony to the police that eventually led John Paul to speak out about his own attack.
Finn was sentenced to four years in prison and begged forgiveness for his violent actions. He made brief appearances clad in an inmate’s tabard on visiting days in 2015 and 2017.
John Paul and Finn’s dark storyline was praised at the time for increasing awareness of male rape. Hollyoaks worked closely with support group Survivors Manchester in researching the plot, and the government later ring-fenced £500,000 in order to fund services for male survivors of sexual assault.
Speaking of his 2019 return to the soap, Rice said: “I’m so excited to be back and working with the talented cast and crew again. I’m really intrigued to see how Finn will integrate back into his family, and also into society. I’m looking forward to exploring that and giving the storyline the respect and sensitivity it deserves.”
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