Ste Hay's latest escape attempt in Hollyoaks has led to a vile act of physical abuse.
The last several weeks have seen Ste (Kieron Richardson) increasingly isolated within Stuart Sumner's (Chris Simmons) group, even while secretly plotting to escape with the help of Leela (Kirsty-Leigh Porter), Azim Desai (Nav Sidhu) and Prevent.
Ste had managed to convince Stuart's son Sid Sumner (Billy Price) to go out on a date with Juliet Quinn (Niamh Blackshaw), allowing him to sneak out to meet Leela (Kirsty-Leigh Porter) and Peri (Ruby O'Donnell).
Tuesday's (November 12) first-look episode on E4, the Lomaxes brought Ste to a meeting with the Prevent in hopes it would be the breakthrough he needed.
"Prevent will get you out. Promise," Leela assured him.
Ste took on the name of his lost love 'Harry' to meet with a Prevent officer named Benjamin in starting the de-radicalisation process. He was shocked to learn Benjamin was once a member of a far-right organisation too.
When the realisation dawned on Ste that he had little money and no place to go, he initially felt trapped — but Benjamin promised the group would help him start a new life in Newcastle within a week.
"The sooner we get you out of the area, the better," he told Ste.
Until then, Benjamin asked Ste to bide his time and avoid antagonising Stuart and Jonny Baxter (Ray Quinn). At the end of their meeting, Ste snuck back to the house to find Sid waiting for him in the yard.
The two found common ground over their abusive dads, before Jonny and Stuart arrived back at home. When they questioned where Ste had been, Sid surprisingly covered for Ste by saying they'd just been watching TV.
The teenager later paid the price when Juliet stormed over to the group's headquarters to yell at Stuart over the way Sid ditched her on the date.
Although Juliet revelled in blowing Sid's cover, she had no idea of the consequences. Once she left, an irate Stuart angrily forced Sid to confess and then viciously hit his son.
Hollyoaks airs Mondays through Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first-look episodes airing on E4 at 7pm.
Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 (www.nspcc.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline on (1-800-422-4453) or the American SPCC (www.americanspcc.org).
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