Patricia Ruth 'Pat' Sugden (neé Harker; previously Merrick) is the wife of Jack Sugden and ex-wife of Tom Merrick.


1944-1972: BackstoryEdit

Pat Harker was born in Beckindale in July 1944 to David and Dolly Harker. She had a younger sister called Janie. When she entered her teens she started dating local farmboy Jack Sugden. But in February 1964 he left Beckindale and Ruth, as she was then known, got together with Tom Merrick when she learned she was pregnant. They married in April 1964. Later that year she gave birth to a son Jackie and two years later a daughter, Sandie.

1972-1974: Departure and short returnEdit

Ruth merrick 1972

Ruth Merrick in 1972, played by Lynn Dalby.

The Merrick family left Beckindale for Leeds in 1972 when Jack returned to the village and offered Ruth £100. Ruth returned briefly in January 1974 to see her sister Janie Blakey. However, she soon reveals she and Tom had divorced in late 1973 after he had an affair. Ruth later took an overdose and was discovered unconscious by Edward Ruskin before being rushed to hospital. Ruth said she had lied about divorcing Tom and decided to return to him in Leeds.

1980-1981: Return and relationship with JackEdit

In September 1980, Ruth, now calling herself Pat, returned to Beckindale with Jackie and Sandie to stay with her aunt Elsie after she left Tom for good. But Elsie would not take them in as her children made a lot of noise. NY Estates found her a home in a grotty, stuffy caravan. Later that year Tom came back to town but by this time Pat had started dating Jack again. Tom tried to frame Jack in an arson attack of which Jack had an alibi. Seth Armstrong found out the truth and told Tom to leave Beckindale with threats of disclosure. In late 1981, Jack and Pat got engaged, an event they wouldn't reveal until January 1982.

1982-1984: Jackie's paternity reveal, marriage and separation from JackEdit

Upon Tom's return again in 1982, Pat revealed that Jackie was not the son of Tom - he was Jack's son! The revelation destroyed the family as Jack failed to build bridges with his son as Jackie showed no interest. Tom, despite suspecting it, was furious and even fought Jack outside The Woolpack. However, he came around to the idea and left in February 1982 after being offered a job on the oil rigs. Jack and Jackie eventually make up and Pat and Jack marry in October 1982, with Matt Skilbeck as best man and Sandie as bridesmaid.

Pat was shocked when Sandie revealed she had become pregnant with Andy Longthorn's child in January 1983, pleading with Sandie to have an abortion. However, Sandie, having had enough of her mum's disapproval, went to live with her father in Aberdeen, giving birth to Louise in November 1983. By then, Pat had come around to the idea of being a grandmother but was upset when Sandie revealed she had put Louise up for adoption and that Louise was living with a family in Aberdeen.

1984 was a rough year for the Sugden family. Tom returned to the village again, but was soon arrested and received a prison sentence. Jack and Pat split in September when Jack has an affair with Karen Moore, and Pat's grandfather-in-law Sam Pearson passed away in November.

In 1985 Pat learned she was pregnant and gave birth to Robert Jacob Sugden in April 1986 which brought her and Jack closer together. Tragedy struck however 4 months later when Pat died after her car crashed down a hillside when she swerved to avoid a flock of sheep.

Pat's death hit Jack hard. Jack begun having flashbacks and hallucinations, and almost had a nervous breakdown but had to pull himself together for Robert's sake.

As he was only a baby at the time, Robert grew up with no memories of his mother, something that would affect him as he got older. He mentioned her in January 2018, over 31 years after her death when he was worried how his own son Seb may grow up without a mother.


"Hello Joe." (First line)

"Just remember what I said, about families and babies. It does make sense." (Final line, to Janie Harker)

See alsoEdit

Original characters
Annie Sugden | Jack Sugden | Peggy Skilbeck | Amos Brearly | Joe Sugden | Henry Wilks | Matt Skilbeck | Marian Rosetti | Sam Pearson
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