Emmerdale Past & Present Wiki

Patricia Ruth "Pat" Sugden nee Harker, formerly Merrick

Pat Sugden.

was a character in Emmerdale for a few episodes in 1972 then again in 1974 and a regular from 1980 to 1986. She first appeared in Episode 7 (6th November 1972). During her 1980s stint she divorced first husband Tom Merrick and married childhood sweetheart Jack Sugden. Pat died in a car crash in Episode 1078 (26th August 1986) just months after her and Jack had Robert Sugden, their second child, born 21 years after their first child Jackie Merrick.

Pat Sugden


July 1944


Tom Merrick(1964-1981), Jack Sugden (1982-1986)


Janie Harker


David Harker, Dolly Harker

Aunt(s) uncle(s)

Elsie Harker, Tom Harker


Jackie Merrick (1964), Sandie Merrick (1965), Tommy Merrick (1968) Robert Sugden 1986

First Appearance

Episode 7 (6th November 1972)

Last Appearance

Episode 1078 (26th August 1986)


1972, 1974, 1980-1986

Played By

Helen Weir



Patricia Ruth Harker was born in July 1944 in Beckindale, the daughter of David Harker and Dolly Harker. Her sister Janie was born in 1954. The Harkers lived next door to Tom Merrick and his mother. Pat was a childhood friend of Jack Sugden and in February 1964 when she was 18 she had a brief fling with him. He left to move to London, leaving her pregnant. Ruth started a relationship with Tom Merrick and they married in April that year and she had a baby John Jacob Merrick in November. Ruth pretended the baby was premature to make Tom think the baby was his. The couple had a daughter Sandie in late 1965. Tom proved to be a lousy husband in the later years, being lazy and sometimes being violent towards Pat and their 3 children.


In November 1972, Joe Sugden had a drink with Ruth Merrick in the Woolpack when Tom walked in and picked a

Pat Merrick in 1972 with husband Tom.

fight with Joe. Tom was soon employed as a farmhand at Emmerdale Farm. He was lazy and did little work. He questioned Ruth as to why their eldest son known as Jackie bore a resemblance to Jack Sugden and had the same first names John Jacob. Tom blackmailed Jack and Jack then fired him. They then left Beckindale to move to Leeds. In January 1974 Ruth returned alone to Beckindale to see her sister Janie Blakey. She soon returned to her family in Leeds.


In July 1980, Ruth, now calling herself Pat, visited Beckindale. Some residents were surprised to see Pat Merrick back. Late in the year she decided to return for good having left her abusive husband Tom for good. Her, Jackie and Sandie moved into a caravan let to her on Home Farm land by NY Estates manager Richard Anstey. In December 1980 Tom Merrick returned to Beckindale looking for Pat. Upon his return him and Pat shared a kiss in their caravan but then rowed about their marriage breaking up. She reminded him how he used to beat her. Tom continued to cause probelsm for Pat when she started getting closer to Jack Sugden again. When Pat asked Tom for a divorce he hit her then tried to frame Jack in an arson attack. Seth Armstrong guessed Tom was nothing but bad work and guessed he had the barn torched and told Tom to leave Beckindale. Pat divorced Merrick in late 1981 and at the end of the year Jack proposed to her.

In January 1982 Tom Merrick returned to Beckindale and the revelation that Jackie was really Jack's son came out. Tom disowned Jackie and Jackie went off the rails and torched a caravan. Tom soon left for the oil rigs. Pat was relieved. That year she got a job at Home Farm by new NY Estates boss Alan Turner. Pat Merrick wed Jack Sugden on the 5th October 1982 at Hotten Registry Office. Pat then became a farmers wife at Emmerdale Farm.

Pat with Sam and Annie in 1983. Courtesy of Beckindale Bugle. http://www.beckindale.com/search/label/Pat%20Sugden

In 1984 Jack cheated on Pat with Hotten Market auctioneer Karen Moore. Pat gave Jack an ultimatum, come home or they were finished. Jack chose Pat. It took a while for Pat to learn to trust Jack again. In April 1985 they had a row about this. That month Jackie Merrick, Pat's son was injured in a motorcycle crash with Alan Turners Land Rover. Jackie spent 5 months in hospital with broken bones. In December 1985 Pat found out that she was pregnant again at 41 years old.

In early April 1986 Pat thought she was going into labour but it was a false alarm. On the 22nd April 1986 Pat Sugden gave birth to a baby boy whom they named Robert Jacob Sugden, after his two grandfathers. But tragedy followed in August 1986 when Pat was driving back home to Beckindale after dropping her sister off at the train station when she swerved to avoid a flock of sheep and the car veered off the road and plunged down a hill. Pat was killed in the accident. She was 42 years old. The entire village was in shock. She was buried in September 1986. Her ex husband Tom Merrick turned up at the wake after watching her funeral from nearby, similar to how Jack watched his own fathers funeral in 1972.

Jack was left to bring up baby Robert as a single father, but Robert's gran Annie helped bring Robert up.


In late January 1988, Tom Merrick returned to the village for his adoptive son Jackie's wedding and laid flowers on Pat's grave. Jack said to Jackie that Pat will be at the wedding in spirit.

Robert grew up with no memories of his mother as he was only a baby when she died. Jack later married Sarah Connolly who bore a resemblance to Pat. Robert gained a half sister Victoria Sugden in 1994.

In Episode 8041 (11th January 2018), over 31 years after her death, Robert Sugden mentioned how he was a baby when his mum was killed. He said this because he wanted his son Sébastien White not to lose his mother Rebecca White after she involved in a car crash.

In September 2018, Robert mentioned his "stepmother Sarah" and also how he knows what it is like to be without a mother. This refers to both his biological mother Pat and adoptive mother Sarah.

Background info[]

In a 1974 episode Pat's mother was mentioned by PC Fred Hallam as Dolly Harker.

In September 2010, when Holly Barton was found drugged up slouched on Frank Tate's grave, Pat's grave could be clearly seen behind Frank's. Patricia Sugden Died 26th August 1986 was the words the viewers could make out the most as the poem underneath was to small to make out from that view.

In 1972 and 1974 she was known as Ruth Merrick, and sometimes referred to as Ruth Harker, her maiden name. However when she returned in the summer of 1980 she was renamed Pat and she made no indication as to wanting to be known as Pat. When Amos first saw her he said "Pat" to himself yet he had not seen her for 8 years when she was last known as Ruth. When Pat wed Jack Sugden in 1982 the vicar said Patricia Ruth Merrick.

Also in November 1972 when the Merricks first appeared, Tom and Ruth/Pat Merrick had 3 children, Jackie, Sandie and Tommy. When Ruth returned in January 1974 for a few episodes it was mentioned that she just had 2 children, Jackie and Sandie. Tommy was never seen or mentioned again after the Merricks originally left the village in 1972 when they had 3 children. He was written out of existence.

Memorable info[]

Birthday: July 1944

Died: 26 August 1986 (Aged 42)

Cause Of Death: Car accident

Full Name: Patricia Ruth Sugden (Nee Harker, later Merrick)


Father David Harker

Mother Dolly Harker

Siblings Janie Blakey.

Spouses Tom Merrick (1964-1981), Jack Sugden (1982-1986)

Children Jackie Merrick (1964), Sandie Merrick (1965), Tommy Merrick (1968), Robert Sugden (1986)

Grandchildren Louise Merrick, Sebastian White

Uncles/Aunts Tom Harker

See also[]