Dean Lockwood was an employee of Phil Jennings. He was manager of one of Phil's business enterprises - an amusement arcade frequented by pupils from Weatherfield Comprehensive. In October 1990, councillor and concerned mother Deirdre Barlow complained to Dean about his allowing underage children on the premises. She took the matter up with Phil, who charmed her and they began dating.
In 1991, Phil rented the factory unit at 14 Coronation Street as a maintenance and repair premises for his arcade machines, and Dean worked there. Dean became aware that Phil's business dealings were dodgy and tried to warn Deirdre to no avail. When Phil failed to pay Dean for his work, he got angry and blabbed to Don Brennan about the extent of Phil's debts. Once Deirdre realised that Phil was no good, she considered contacting the police, but was strongly advised against it by Dean.