When Ciaran McCarthy purchased Nexus wine bar in August 2004 having received the financial backing to the tune of £70,000 from Penny King, he opened his own restaurant McCarthy's in the premises. However it soon became evident that the business was in severe danger of sinking within a matter of a few weeks. During this time Ciaran was in a relationship with Tracy Barlow, who tried to talk him into cutting his losses and advised him to sell up, but he was determined to make a go of it in the interim.
In October, businessman Frank Walker turned up at the restaurant and reintroduced himself to Ciaran as the man he'd outbid for the premises at the property auction. Commenting on the lack of customers during the lunchtime trade, he likened Ciaran to the canary in the cage that was sent down the mine that his grandfather worked at - in order to check for dangerous gases. An experienced restauranteur, Walker eventually persuaded Ciaran that he was the man to turn the business around and got him to sell the lease for £60,000.
A disappointed Ciaran geared himself up to tell Penny that he'd been forced to sell for £10,000 less than she'd invested, however Tracy soon talked him into keeping all of the money himself, suggested they did a runner, and decided to sign the sale contract herself - using Penny's name. A few days after the transaction took place, Ciaran told Penny that he'd sold the business for £30,000 and demanded to withhold £10,000 for his hard work and expenses. Although initially furious that she'd lost £50,000 on her investment, Penny felt compelled to apologise for being so hard on him, but as she thawed a guilt-ridden Ciaran then confessed to selling up for £60,000. As Ciaran explained to girlfriend Tracy that he'd returned all of Penny's money but glad they were still together, she promptly dumped him and moved out of his flat.
Upset about the scam, Penny poured her heart out to Mike Baldwin. He arranged a meeting with Walker to try and work out how Ciaran could have orchestrated the sale without Penny's knowledge. With Walker's description of the woman who finalised the transaction, Mike quickly realised that it was Tracy Barlow who'd signed the paperwork in an act of fraud.
- Credited as "Mr Walker", the character's forename was given in dialogue.
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