It’s fair to say Rita’s hit rock bottom following this evening’s revelation her husband is alive, well and a convicted paedophile.



Equally shocking for Casualty viewers in tonight’s episode, is the fact that Rita stood up in court and defended her schoolteacher husband for sleeping with a 13-year-old pupil.



Chloe Howman, who plays distraught Rita, explained to What’s on TV, why Rita unwittingly acted as a witness for her husband:



“Rita believed her husband wholeheartedly. He told her he didn’t do it and she stood up in court and defended him because she loved him, trusted him and genuinely believed him.”



She goes on to explain how she prepared for the devastating storyline:



“I did some research into this and spoke to someone who had a similar experience [to Rita], because I’m one of those people who asks ‘who could you not know your husband was doing something like that?’ 



“I think the denial is so deep you block off your gut feelings and intuition, because you can’t believe it. It’s a horrific situation. The shame must be so intense. I really feel compassion for anybody who’s ever in that situation.”



Chloe, whose dad is actor Karl Howman – probably best known for his iconic Flash adverts, hopes fans of the show will understand Rita’s plight.



“Rita wanted to make a new start for herself. She didn’t intend to say her husband was dead, it was a cornered moment. She told this huge lie and now has the shame over everybody knowing.”



Next week, Rita returns to work after a leave of absence, to a frosty reception from some of her friends…