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Death on the Street


While many of the street's inhabitants have died simply of old age, others have had far more dramatic exits; perhaps the most unusual being death by hair dryer.

Such was the fate of Ken Barlow's first wife Valerie. The couple were due to immigrate to Jamaica and as Valerie was doing her hair in preparation for their leaving party she electrocuted herself and started a fire. 

This was not the only street celebration to turn tragedy. While Rita was singing at the Ogden's 40th wedding anniversary party news arrived that her husband Len Fairclough had been killed in a road accident. And just a day after celebrating her 40th birthday Edna Gee was killed in a warehouse fire.

Alf Roberts died of a heart attack at Nick Tilsley's birthday party on New Year's Eve, and a road rage incident brought on Derek Wilton's fatal heart attack on wife Mavis' birthday. Fred Elliot died on his wedding day, suffering a heart attack as he left former flame Audrey's house. Ken and Deirdre's (second) wedding reception at the Rovers was marred by the death of Ray Langton who was suffering from stomach cancer.

Ray was the second person to have died at The Rovers, the first being Martha Longhurst, who had a heart attack there, and was rumoured to haunt the snug. The factory has been the site of three deaths; including former owner Mike Baldwin. Suffering from Alzheimer disease he died in the arms of his long term rival Ken Barlow. Employee Kasia Barowicz took a fatal fall while working illegal overtime and book keeper Earnest Bishop was shot during a robbery attempt.

Earnest was one of the many victims of foul play in the street's history, although not the first. Steve Tanner was pushed down the stairs by fellow soldier Joe Donnelli; Des Barnes, Tony Horrocks, Jez Quigley and Samir Rachid all suffered fatal beatings, and Brian Tilsley died after being stabbed outside a nightclub.

Richard Hillman bludgeoned his wife Patricia with a spade and Maxine Peacock with a crowbar. Katy Harris dispatched father Tommy with a wrench and Tracy Barlow did in Charlie Stubbs with a lap-dance and a deftly wielded statuette.

Joe Donnelli shot himself; Ken Barlow's second wife, Janet, took an overdose; and diabetic Katy Harris bid the cruel world goodbye with a fatal dose of sugar.

However it has been vehicles that have claimed the most lives. Harry Hewitt was crushed by a van, and Len Fairclough died after he fell asleep at the wheel of one. Renee Roberts was killed while learning to drive when her car stalled and was hit by a truck. Car crashes claimed both David and Darren Barlow and later Susan Barlow.

The street's first vehicular victim was another Barlow, Ida, who was run over by a bus. Deirdre Barlow's father was also killed when hit by car. Young mother Lisa Duckworth died after she was run over by a car, while Alison Webster stepped in front of a truck, following the death of her baby Jake. Jenny Bradley lost first her mother (run over by a car) and then her father Alan met his end when he was hit by a tram, while pursuing Rita.

Don Brennan met a fiery end when he crashed into a wall while trying to kill Mike Baldwin. Richard Hillman drowned while trying to kill the Platt family by driving them into the canal; a feat previously attempted by Don with Alma Baldwin. And Paul Connor died in a crash with Leanne Battersby held captive in the boot.

Of the more natural deaths on the street the greatest killers have been old age and heart attacks. Others include cancer (Phyllis Roberts, Ray Langton, Alma Baldwin), Alzheimer disease (Mike Baldwin), stroke (Ivy Brennan), embolism (Judy Mallett) and brain tumour (Vera Lomax, Ted Sullivan). Young victims have included babies Shannon Tattersall (meningitis) Jake Webster (streptococcus) and premature births Katie McDonald and Billy Platt. Liam and Maria Connor's baby Paul was stillborn.

The street's first death was May Hardman (heart attack) in 1961, while 1975 and 1999 (UK) were the street's deadliest years, each with five deaths. The recent death of Vera Duckworth was watched by over 12 million people in the UK.


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