Harold "Harry" Mowlam was mad, bad and dangerous to know. He was a farmer and quarry owner who committed armed robbery and mistreated his animals. He had a rather short-lived feud with Jackie Merrick, Archie Brooks and Mike Conrad, and was often found getting on the wrong side of the law, but not getting caught. Harry further crossed the Sugdens when he made sexual advances on Dolly Skilbeck, causing her to have a miscarriage. Harry fell down a bank after a fight with Dolly's husband Matt, and met his fate after getting on the wrong side of Derek Warner.



Born in the early 1930s, Harold Mowlam, known as Harry, later built himself up in business as a quarry owner. Harry never married or had children. He was known for being fierce and a trouble maker. Harry's ruthless nature made him very well disliked in Beckindale.

1983-1985: Armed robbery and deadly fightEdit

In 1983, nasty quarry owner Harry Mowlam warred with local farmer Matt Skilbeck over Mowlam's treatment of his dog. Also, Mowlam allowed the dog to be in his noisy quarry all day. Matt had also witnessed Harry kick Ben, so Matt snatched Ben and refused to give him back. Mowlam harassed Matt into giving the dog back, and even said he would take Matt to court. In January 1984, Jackie Merrick and Mike Conrad had done a job for Mowlam but he refused to pay them. Jackie and Mike then tried to start a fight with Mowlam but they were chased away by him. Mowlam tried to knock Jackie off his motorbike. Sgt. MacArthur spoke to Harry about it, and his shady deals, but offered to overlook this if Harry dropped the case against Matt. Harry agreed to this and told Matt he could keep the "mutt". For the next year or so, Harry left the Skilbeck's alone.

In September 1985, Mowlam bought some land in Beckindale, next to Emmerdale Farm. He immediately made life hell for the Sugdens and Skilbeck's by sabotaging their harvest. Jack Sugden was livid as it cost them thousands of pounds. In late October 1985, Mowlam teamed up with Derek Warner and Keith Johnson to stage a robbery on a wages van. Sandie Merrick, whose dad Tom Merrick was a mate of Derek, saw the 3 men chatting several times prior to the robbery. Mowlam supplied the explosives from his quarry. One the day of the robbery, Derek and Keith actually did the robbery, by using guns and explosives (the group had intended to rob the van then blow it up with the guards inside), while Harry was in The Woolpack at the time of the robbery, so as to purposely create an alibi. Sandie Merrick witnessed the robbery, but was unsure who the criminals were. Derek, Keith and Harry Mowlam then hid the proceeds under some rubble on Mowlam's quarry. At the same time, Mowlam made advances on his old rival Matt's pregnant wife Dolly Skilbeck, terrorising her, threatening her and causing her to have a miscarriage.

After the robbery, Mowlam then started bragging about his new found riches which worried Derek and Keith as the police were on the case. Jackie Merrick even suspected that the stolen loot was hidden at Mowlam's quarry, and Sgt Ian MacArthur visited the quarry. When Ian was not looking, Mowlam quickly put bricks on the loot then a sheet of corrugated iron over it. Ian could not find anything and accused Jackie of wasting his time. Mowlam also kept the proceeds of the robbery to himself. After his visit from the police, Mowlam relocated the loot to a remote pig shelter on his land, and when Derek heard that Mowlam was buying a house, he said if Mowlam helps himself to any more of the money, he will kill him. Mowlam was forced to tell Derek where the money was hidden.

Mowlam then said he could buy out half the village if he wanted, and carried on flashing his cash. So, Derek and Keith took a drunken Mowlam to a country lane and warned him to keep quiet. However, Mowlam totally ignored Derek's warnings and became more and more crazy, and he yet again made more advances to Dolly Skilbeck, to get at his rival Matt. Matt saw one of Mowlam's pigs was caught up in barbed wire and said it needed a vet. Mowlam caught Matt and violently forced Matt and Jackie off his land. A short time later, Matt even took some of Mowlam's neglected sheep away for treatment. Some of the sheep died while in Matt's care, even though Matt did his best for them. Nasty Mowlam blamed Matt, wanting compensation, and made a pass at his wife Dolly in the street, scaring her.

Mowlam still bragged about his riches so Derek Warner was hunting him down. The same day, Matt caught Mowlam stealing some of his sheep, and a huge fight ensued. Mowlam had Matt in a bear hug, and was going to kill him, so Matt wriggled his arms free and squeezed Mowlam's neck to get free. Mowlam then lost his balance and fell down the riverbank into the river. He sat up in the river and vowed to get revenge on everyone who he warred with. Matt was dazed and confused, but Mowlam was still alive. Matt went home, with cuts and bruises.

1986: Death and aftermathEdit

The following morning, Henry Wilks found Harry badly beaten shortly before he died, and raced home to call the police. When Matt heard that Mowlam had been found dead, he was shocked and was unsure whether he killed Mowlam. Matt handed himself in, and faced tough questioning. Mowlam had died from drowning after being left face down in the water, after being delivered several blows to the head. Also, the police knew that Mowlam had caused Matt's wife to suffer a miscarriage so Matt had motive to kill him. The police also thought that due to the marks on Mowlam's neck, that Matt held Mowlam underwater until he finished him off, so Matt was then charged with murder. Matt knew he was dazed after the fight with Mowlam and he cannot remember if he killed him or not. Matt suggested that Mowlam may have died of a heart attack after the fight, but the autopsy refuted this suggestion. Matt was not off the hook. At the same time, some of Mowlam's relatives heard of his death and wanted to buy his land. Many villagers were relieved to hear of Mowlam's death, as he was a sadistic and very nasty man. Due to Harry's reputation, the villagers worried that more Mowlam's would move to the village if they bought his old land.

To try and get Matt to regain some memory, Henry Wilks took Matt back to the fight scene, and after Matt told him where the fight happened, Wilks said that he found Mowlam's body 20 yards downstream from where Matt last saw him. This made Matt think he was innocent, as he was not strong enough to drag a man almost twice his size downstream to kill him. Matt's lawyer Mr Barrett told Matt and his family at Emmerdale not to put in a bid for Mowlam's land as it would make the police think that Matt had yet another motive to kill Mowlam. But Derek Warner begun acting strangely, and was hinting about how Mowlam may have been murdered. The police found evidence which linked Derek to the robbery, as well as Mowlam's involvement. They found that the robbery proceeds was buried on Mowlam's old land. In late March, Mowlam's body was released and he was buried in Beckindale Cemetery.

The police soon overheard Derek saying he could kill Keith Johnson like he did Harry Mowlam. Keith was caught but Derek got away and held Donald Hinton hostage. Derek said to Hinton that he killed Mowlam. Hinton persuaded Derek to hand himself in. Derek surrendered his gun and was then arrested. He then confessed to Harry Mowlam's murder and Matt was acquitted. Harry Mowlam could finally rest in peace.

The memory of the murder, and Mowlam, was felt for several years afterwards by other villagers. In October 1987, Alan Turner mentioned Mowlam while saying that being a neighbour of Emmerdale Farm can be dangerous.

In 1988, 2 years after Mowlam's death, Dolly mentioned her miscarriage caused by Mowlam, saying she still feels very sorry about it, which indicated that her and Matt's ordeal with Mowlam would always leave an unwanted legacy. The same year, Jack also said that Beckindale has never been a very safe place to live, and he has cursed some of its people over the years, indirectly referring to Mowlam, who Jack hated.


"I'll have you Skilbeck. You and your whole rotten village". (Final line, to Matt Skilbeck)

Background informationEdit

  • In December 1985, when Sgt MacArthur was looking around the quarry for the stolen money after a tip off from Jackie, Mowlam hides the loot under some corrugated iron and then makes a sign of the cross, indicating that Harry was probably a Catholic.

See Also Edit

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