John Jacob "Jackie" Merrick was the son of Pat Merrick (originally Ruth) and Jack Sugden. He grew up originally believing his father was Ruth's husband Tom, but found out the truth by the time he was 17.
Jackie was born on the 2nd November 1964 in Beckindale to Ruth Merrick and Jack Sugden, who had left Beckindale that year to move to London. Ruth found out she was pregnant and married local farm labourer Tom Merrick in April that year and pretended the baby was premature to make him believe he was the father. Tom genuinely believed that he was the father until Jackie got older and he started to notice the resemblance between him and Jack Sugden and always wondered how healthy he looked when premature.
In 1972, Jackie was almost 8 years old and his "father" Tom noticed his resemblance to Jack, who had just returned to the village for his father's funeral. Also Tom was suspicious as to why he shared the same first names as Jack. John Jacob. Jackie left Beckindale with his parents shortly afterwards.
In September 1980, Jackie returned to Beckindale for good with his mother Pat and sister Sandie. They got off the bus in Main Street and Richard Anstey allowed them to stay in a grotty caravan on Home Farm land. Jackie left school in 1981. In January 1982 he found out that Jack was his real father and not Tom. Jackie went off the rails and Tom blamed Jack. Later on in 1982, after being sacked from his gamekeepers job at Home Farm by Alan Turner, Jackie became more rebellious when he set fire to the caravan, almost trashed the vicarage with his sister and friend Andy Longthorn and had a huge fight with Teddy Hooson on a remote country lane when Teddy insulted Pat. The arson put paid to Jackie's army career. In January 1983 he was charged with the fire and given community service.
In the spring of 1983, he was almost caught stealing chicken wire from Home Farm by Turner. Jackie was doing a favour for Seth Armstrong, Turner's shifty employee. When Jackie found that sister Sandie had become a "fallen" woman by Andy, he took the law into his own hands and assaulted Andy. Sandie went to live with her father Tom to have the baby and give it up for adoption. In late 1983, Archie Brooks moved to the village and became good friends with Jackie. Jackie started to mature, and put his criminal past behind him.
In 1985, Jackie almost died after being run over by Alan Turner while fixing his motorbike. During his slow recovery after waking from a coma, he finally acknowledged Jack, with whom he'd been feuding prior to the accident, as his father by referring to him as "Dad".
Jackie married Kathy Bates in 1988 but the marriage didn't last very long as Jackie was killed the following year in an accident while he and Seth Armstrong were hunting for a £10 bet. Jackie tried to take a shotgun out of his car, but it got caught and went off by mistake, killing him in the process.
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