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|Emmerdale Farm character|
|Portrayed by||Lynn Dalby (1972–1974)|
Helen Weir (1980–1986)
|Duration||1972, 1974, 1980–1986|
|First appearance||6 November 1972|
|Last appearance||26 August 1986|
|Created by||Kevin Laffan|
|Introduced by||David Goddard (1972)|
Anne Gibbons (1980)
|Other names||Ruth Merrick|
Pat Harker was born in Beckindale in July 1944 to Robert and Louise Harker. She had a younger sister called Janie. When she entered her teens she started dating local farmboy Jack Sugden. But in February 1964, he left Beckindale and Ruth, as she was then known, got together with Tom Merrick when she learned she was pregnant. They married in April 1964. Later that year she gave birth to a son Jackie and two years later a daughter, Sandie. Tom questioned the paternity of Jackie as a result his being born seven months early and his resemblance to Jack Sugden. The Merrick family left Beckindale for Leeds in 1972 when Jack returned to the village and offered Ruth £100. Ruth returned briefly in January 1974 to see her sister Janie Blakey.
Return to Beckindale
In September 1980, Ruth, now calling herself Pat, returned to Beckindale with Jackie and Sandie to stay with her aunt Elsie after she left Tom for good. But Elsie would not take them in as her children would make a lot of noise. Ny Estates found her a home in a grotty, stuffy caravan. Later that year Tom came back to town but by this time Pat had started dating Jack again. Tom tried to frame Jack in an arson attack of which Jack had an alibi. Seth Armstrong found out the truth and told Tom to leave Beckindale with threats of disclosure.
Marriage to Jack Sugden
In 1982, Pat and Jack married with Matt as best man and Sandie as bridesmaid. Pat and Jack were happy for quite a while until in 1984 when Jack had an affair with reporter Karen Moore. The couple split up for a while but later got back together.
Robert and death
In 1985, Pat learned she was pregnant and gave birth to a son, Robert Jacob Sugden, in April 1986 which brought her and Jack closer together. In August, tragedy struck when Pat died after her car crashed down a hillside when she swerved to avoid a flock of sheep. She had been returning home from dropping her sister Janie off at the train station after a visit. Pat's funeral was held on 2 September 1986 and she was buried in the village churchyard. Jack was left to bring up Robert alone, and he grew up with no memories of his mother.