As Christmas Day arrived in Coronation Street in 2002, serial killer Richard Hillman’s reign of terror was just beginning.
He’d already seen off business partner Duggie Ferguson – leaving him to die at their new housing development – and ex-wife Patricia, who he whacked over the head with a spade.
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He’d even convinced wife Gail that her mum Audrey was suffering from Alzheimers, to discredit her when she tried to tell Gail that her husband was bad news.
But as December dawned, financial advisor Richard was in dire straits money-wise. He’d been conning the pensioners of the Street into selling him their houses in a buy-back scheme that would make him rich once the oldies popped their clogs.
Only trouble was, they’re made of strong stuff in Weatherfield and those pensioners just weren’t budging.
Knowing things were looking bad, on Christmas Day 2002, Richard decided it was time to take action. As Gail, Sarah and David watched The Snowman, he went round to see Emily, who’d sold him her house.
And when she dozed off on the sofa, Richard picked up a cushion and went towards poor Mrs Bishop, intending to smother her as she slept.
Luckily for Emily, her friend Rita turned up to save the day. Richard turned on the charm and the women were left thinking he was a kind neighbour who’d popped in to check they were okay.
Just a few weeks later, though, Richard tried to kill Emily again by hitting her on the head as she babysat for little Joshua Peacock. But when mum Maxine interrupted his murder attempt, it was her who became the killer’s next victim.