Coronation Street’s Ashley Peacock wants to believe that wife Claire is innocent… but can he? Steven Arnold reveals all…

Ashley Peacock is relieved when baby Freddie is found safe and unharmed. But although Claire swears she didn’t abandon Freddie (again), he’s still suspicious about how Freddie ended up in the park and who then started the fire?
“Ashley’s in bits inside but he’s trying not to show it for Claire’s sake. It’s only when he’s alone that he allows his doubts to surface. Claire is convinced it’s all down to this woman Casey but Ashley really doesn’t know if she even exists. He never saw her.”

So, does Ashley, like the police, really think Claire could have done it herself?
“Yeah, there is a part of him that suspects Claire may be involved. He fears her post natal depression may have returned with a vengeance and she did those things as the police suspect. He believes Claire most of the time but there is a doubt, or rather a nagging fear at the back of mind which won’t go away.”

Does he really believe that Casey is just a figment of Claire’s imagination. Someone she’s made up to take the blame?
“Ashley hasn’t a clue who Casey is. He’s just heard about her from Claire. And now she seems to have disappeared into thin air. Does he believe she exists? He wants to desperately. He’s hoping against hope that some information comes to light about Casey. Something they can give to the police.”

But when the Peacocks return to Weatherfield and to their newly decorated house things are far from back to normal are they?
“Claire is constantly jumpy, not at all herself and it makes Ashley very uneasy.”

Could it simply be extreme fear and worry that’s causing Claire to act in this way?
“That’s what Ashley wants to believe. I think he also believes – most of the time – that Claire is telling the truth about Casey. But then the alternative is just too horrible.”

What alternative?
“That if there is no Casey, if the police really can find no trace of her then Ashley will believe there is only one person who could have dumped Freddie and started the fire. Claire.”