Emmerdale‘s Charlotte Bellamy reveals to Soaplife that when Laurel discovers Ashley’s abuse of his dad there can be no forgiveness – and no going back!

They may all be sharing the same house, but Laurel hasn’t the faintest idea that Ashley’s been abusing his dad, Sandy. And Laurel actress Charlotte says the whole storyline is one huge shock. “There are so many layers to it,” she tells Soaplife. “Being a vicar, Ashley should be all about love and forgiveness. So how can a man of the cloth do what he’s been doing? And to his own father?” How indeed?

Is Laurel suspicious now Sandy’s told her he wants to go into care?
“She’s completely thrown by the change in him because she knows how adamant he’s been about not going into the home. When they go back for a second visit she can tell he’s hiding something, and she gets him alone to talk about what it is, but Sandy won’t say what’s bothering him. Laurel pleads with him and it’s a desperately sad scene as tears begin to fall down Sandy’s face.”

But what makes Laurel think Ashley’s the problem?
“It’s Gabby who really gets her thinking. She saw Ashley push Sandy and out of the blue says to Laurel, ‘Daddy pushed Grandpa over – but it wasn’t an accident’. Something clicks. It’s a real penny-dropping moment for Laurel.”

Does she confront Ashley?
“Not immediately. She goes to see Rachel to see what she knows and what she said to Social Services. Rachel’s version of events starts to make sense.”

And when Laurel gets home everything makes horrible sense!
“Yes. She walks in on Ashley actually hitting Sandy and she feels absolute horror. It’s such an ugly scene. She’s disgusted with Ashley and she’s shocked to the core that he’s capable of this – and that she didn’t know it was happening.”

Does Ashley have any excuses for his behaviour?
“There are no excuses in the world for hitting and abusing an old person, for restricting his pension and his freedom – and all the rest of it. Admittedly, Ashley’s been in a bad place and not coping. He hasn’t been able to talk to Laurel about this because their relationship has been shaky. But there’s absolutely no excuse for what he’s doing.”

What does Laurel do?
“Laurel tells Ashley that he’s been abusing his dad and Sandy could report him to the police and Ashley could go to jail. But Sandy refuses to say or do anything that will get his son into trouble. He still loves Ashley – in spite of everything he’s done to him. It’s a parent’s unconditional love and it makes things even more distressing.”

Ashley claims that he was doing it because he wanted life to be perfect for Laurel…
“Essentially he’s blaming Laurel because she fell in love with another man – Marlon. It’s the repercussions of that. Ashley couldn’t forgive Laurel and now Laurel can’t forgive Ashley.

Will this affect her love for Ashley?
“OMG of course! She can’t get past this. This is the beginning of the end for them.”