Note: The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct that some readers may find upsetting.
Hollyoaks aired a special episode on Tuesday (May 21) solely dedicated to the ongoing Sinead Shelby sexual assault storyline.
Earlier this week, Sinead (Stephanie Davis) made the brave decision to publicly out her husband Laurie's (Kyle Pryor) abuse first by telling Tony and Diane and then by going to the police to report him for rape.
In Tuesday's first-look instalment on E4, Sinead went through the painstaking process of reliving the abuse in disturbing detail in her police interview - but made one major slip-up.
Sinead was worried that the date of the rape was too close to the day when the couple posed in a smiley photo, so she falsely told investigators the first assault took place on April 1.
Meanwhile, Laurie maintained his innocence by insisting that his wife had always been a jealous person. He sent investigators to Sally St Claire (Annie Wallace) and Nancy Osborne (Jessica Fox) as character witnesses - both of whom backed up his claims.
However, Sienna Blake (Anna Passey) desperately tried to convince police of how vile and abusive Laurie had been when it was her turn to speak with them. She even volunteered to confess to her recent revenge plot, if it meant Laurie would also go to prison.
When the investigators get a chance to speak to Diane and Tony, they shared that Laurie apologised immediately after Sinead first told them about the abusive behaviour.
"He's usually controlled, he's got an answer for everything... It's like the truth had come out," Diane remembered.
Although the case looked to be swaying in Sinead's direction, the balance tipped yet again in the cliffhanger when police asked Laurie about that April 1 date.
The evil deputy headteacher relished in revealing that he'd actually been on a camping trip with Sienna on that date. Back at home, Sinead also figured out her mistake and panicked at the thought that she'd jeopardised her case.
After a powerful episode, viewers were full of praise for Stephanie Davis, Anna Passey and the entire cast:
.@Hollyoaks Wow. Just wow! Amazing work on such an important issue. Telling a story that needs to be told and really needs to be heard. @Stephdavis77 is mind blowingly good. #Hollyoaks #BreakTheSilence- Liam J. Stratton (@littlelordliam) May 21, 2019
Absolutely proud of @Stephdavis77 for the way she has played her current story in @Hollyoaks the girl needs to win soap awards she’s brilliant! Best thing Hollyoaks ever did was bring back Steph/Sinead- Johnpaul Lawless (@johnpaull88) May 21, 2019
What a brilliant actor!! I’m actually crying at this storyline @Stephdavis77- Steph Wright (@StephhMiichelle) May 21, 2019
@Stephdavis77 oh mate, that was harrowing but you’re acting was amazing x 😪 🏆- HeyYou (@FandangoFlora) May 21, 2019
Hollyoaks airs Mondays through Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look episodes airing on E4 at 7pm.
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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