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, having worked for Phil since leaving school. In October 1990, councillor and concerned mother Deirdre Barlow complained to Dean about his allowing underage children on the premises. When faced with the determined woman, Dean joked around, pretending that he couldn't tell how old customers were despite many of them being in school uniform.

Having met Deirdre before and got on with her, Phil went to see her and promised they'd improve measures to keep the children out. On an inspection of the arcades with Phil, Deirdre was pleased by the sight of Dean throwing out a 15-year-old schoolboy, although she suspected that Phil had set it up. Deirdre was satisfied when Phil had a new sign put up in the arcade refusing entry to under 16's.

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.

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