Dean is Holly Barton's former boyfriend and drug dealer. After splitting up with Holly, Dean demanded £2,000 for drugs he supplied her with during their relationship. Holly was unable to pay up so she visited her mother Moira Dingle in Emmerdale. Holly initially stole step-father Cain Dingle's car to sell and pay back the money but Cain and Moira managed to stop her before she could. Later that day, Dean turned up at Cain and Moira's house, Butler's Farm, where he go talking to Holly's half-brother Adam Barton. Holly was surprised to see Dean, who introduced himself to Moira as Holly's boyfriend but Cain was suspicious of him. Dean put pressure on Holly to pay up and Holly attempted to clear the debt by sleeping with Dean, but he made it clear that sex with her wasn't worth £2,000. Holly approached Cain's former girlfriend Charity Dingle to try to get the money, and planned to rob Cain's sister Chas' pub. Charity told Moira about the robbery, and Moira confronted her and realised her daughter was no longer clean. Moira payed Dean off for Holly, despite Cain's objections. The following day, Dean phoned Holly and demanded a further £2,000 in interest. Cain called in a favour from Charity Dingle and Ross Barton and set Dean up with a lorry full of stolen electrical goods. Dean was tasered and arrested.
By August 2016, Dean had been released from prison. Charity came into contact with him when she got a lead on Belle Dingle's disappearance from a Friend of Dean's. She admitted to Dean she played her part in getting him sent down. Dean took a baseball bat intending to beat Charity, who locked herself in a room. Realising, she was in danger, Charity called Cain asking for his help, but Cain assumed it was a plea for attention. Charity had no option other than to offer herself on a plate to Dean, explaining how she used to work as a prostitute. Cain walked in as Charity had Dean pinned to the floor. Cain warned Dean off.