DEATH strikes again in the Dales this week and Lydia Dingle is left to put pieces of a murderous puzzle together.
Emmerdale‘s Dingle family takes centre stage as the cleaner figures out who killed Craig Reed. Here are our theories about what’s ahead.
1. Group effort rumbled
The beloved character has been left a shell of her former self as she struggled to cope in the aftermath of her rape.
However, after revealing the truth to employer and pal Kim Tate (Claire King), Lydia finally had the courage to open up to her family who, at the time, began to believe she was having an affair with Craig.
Lydia eventually went to the police with the full support of her loved ones but due to her burning evidence after her attack, in an attempt to move on from it, the authorities dropped the case and Craig was off the hook.
But while he escaped legal repercussions, the entrepreneur is unable to run from the Dingle justice.
This week, Billy Fletcher (Jay Kontzle) finds his bloodied and lifeless body on the Home Farm estate.
It’s immediately clear to Lydia that somebody close to her must be responsible for Craig’s death and she decides to play detective.
Members of the Dingle clan, from Chas and Cain to Marlon and Mandy, are called into The Woolpack to share their alibis – but all of them are keeping the full truth to themselves.
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Many ITV viewers have taken to social media to share their theories with Aaron, Cain and Sam being their primary suspects.
Another fan of the Yorkshire-based soap took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and penned: “I think Charity will kill Craig because she was abused and raped when she was younger.”
But with a room full of suspects who all love Lydia in their own way, could the twelve Dingles have teamed up together to get rid of Craig?
Family ties are strong for the Dingles and a grouped crime could be their way of keeping one another from speaking to the police about the murder.
But what if the killer was someone nobody could ever think of?
2. Unexpected killer found out
Before the murder twist was teased, soap fans were expecting it all to unravel before their eyes as they suspected Kim Tate to be the one to take Craig down herself.
But another name was thrown into the mix by fans following recent scenes of the long-running program – Samson Dingle (Sam Hall).
The lad was previously working with Craig in the hopes of kicking his business career off bright and early.
He had no other choice but to leave it all behind after Lydia came to terms with her attack and he desperately tried to get back into Craig’s good books in vain.
Samson has made it clear he has a villainous streak but could he be a budding murderer?
What if the killer wasn’t even a Dingle at all?
Regular Emmerdale viewers have started to think outside the box and speculated that one character close to Craig could be responsible for his death.
“Anyone else think the receptionist will be Craig’s killer?”, one of them commented as another agreed: “I thought this too.”
When Craig was arrested, she was then spotted with tears in her eyes.
This prompted many soap viewers to speculate she could be involved in Craig’s murder with one of them adding that Lydia may not have been his first and only victim.
“Craig definitely raped his secretary, time for her to step up… although I expect, she is going to turn up at the courthouse, and be the evidence, to get him sent down”, one fan wrote on X.
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3. Villager takes the blame
One thing is certain – Lydia could get closer to the real culprit while she interrogates her family members, but will they even be brought to justice?
With Craig’s body being found, the authorities are sure to be involved in the investigation but where will their path to the truth lead them?
Speaking to The Express about the storyline, Sam Dingle star James Hooton teased that his on-screen alter ego could be capable of taking a life.
“The spotlight is on various individuals throughout various episodes and it centres around the idea that the 12 Dingles in the room are conceding some kind of secret which may or may not lead to Lydia discovering who has actually killed Craig.”
Emmerdale boss Laura Shaw also teased that another loved character could be going to prison in upcoming scenes.
“We have got tragedy striking one family in the New Year. We have one or two of our villagers getting into very serious trouble”, she said.
But while Sam is the first character suspected to be thrown behind bars for Craig’s death, his half-brother Cain is also able to end a life… or take the fall for one of his loved ones in the name of family.
Known for her kind-hearted and selfless nature, Lydia Dingle could also try and take the blame for Craig’s death when she realises somebody close to her is the killer.
Could one of her relatives stop her?
Who killed Craig Reed?
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Emmerdale airs weeknights from 7.30pm on ITV.