Willmott Brown told the news to rape victim Kathy, as he urged her to “move on” from his crime

EastEnders has just revealed a big secret about James Willmott Brown – he’s dying.

The ruthless businessman, played by William Boyde, shared his news with Kathy Beale in tonight’s episode, telling the café worker: “I had the diagnosis a few days ago – liver cancer. A few months at the most.

“From the moment the consultant told me; from the very moment he gave me that prognosis, I didn’t think about the people I’d have expected to think about – family, friends. The person I wanted to tell was you.”

Kathy Beale, James Willmott-Brown

Willmott Brown dropped the bombshell during a tense showdown with Kathy – whom he raped in 1988 – in which he asked if they could “resolve” what happened between them.

But despite an emotional Kathy recalling her ordeal and asking her rapist to apologise for his actions, Willmott Brown was unable to accept he had done anything wrong, telling his former employee: “I’m even more sorry that you can’t leave all this behind you; that you can’t move on. I’ve tried offering resolution at a difficult time for me and you’ve just thrown it back in my face.”

Willmott Brown made a shock return to EastEnders in September, twenty five years after his last appearance in 1992, when he was released from prison after serving a three year prison sentence for Kathy’s rape.

He is currently embroiled in a secret plot to take control of Albert Square by buying up key businesses, and has an accomplice in Max Branning, who wants revenge on the locals for his wrongful imprisonment for Lucy Beale’s murder.