John Stape was the on/off boyfriend of Fiz Brown until they got married in 2009. John broke Fiz's heart several times with his constant trouble-making such as sleeping with Rosie Webster and kidnapping her; which resulted in him serving a custodial sentence at Highfield Prison. However, Fiz still gave John more chances, and after marrying him in prison he moved back with her once he was released and was gradually accepted back into the community.
However, John later began to miss teaching and stole ex-colleague Colin Fishwick's identity, and later concealed his body when he died. John began to take on a more sinister side after he murdered unstable Charlotte Hoyle who blackmailed him and covered her death to look like an accident on the site of a tram crash. A month later, he accidentally killed Colin's mother Joy when confessing the truth.
John had a mental breakdown, but when he was released, he tied up Fiz's brother Chesney; along with Charlotte's parents when they discovered the truth. When his crimes were unravelling, John wanted to flee with Fiz and their baby daughter Hope, but when cornered; he jumped from the roof of Weatherfield General to end his life. However, John somehow survived the fall and went on the run. Fiz was later accused of committing the murders and was locked up until her trial.
John returned in October 2011, planning on helping to free her, and kidnapped Rosie again to give her the story to tell the court, but he was chased by her dad Kevin and crashed his car, ending up in hospital. John managed to confess the truth to police in order to get Fiz off, and made up with her before suffering a fatal heart attack.
Unfortunately, Fiz spent most of her time in foster care, and she and John had lost contact before he went to university.
Some years later, John began teaching at Weatherfield High. While doing a play, Bugsy Malone, which featured Fiz's younger brother Chesney, he bumped into Fiz again. They reinstated their romance and Fiz dumped her current boyfriend Kirk Sutherland to get back with John, without telling him why. After Chesney's schoolfriend Sophie Webster discovered Fiz and John's relationship, she vandalised Fiz's moped out of jealousy. Fiz wrongly accused Kirk of the damage but later apologised when she realised he was innocent.
John later gave Sophie's mother Sally lessons so she could resit her A-Levels, and she admitted to him she had feelings, however John claimed he wasn't interested. John later began an affair with Sally's sixteen-year-old daughter Rosie Webster, whilst still having a relationship with Fiz. They were nearly caught many times and Fiz suspected that John was up to something, and began to think that he was having an affair with Sally.
Rosie started to claim that she wanted a proper relationship with John and hated being his bit on the side, and pressured him to dump Fiz, but he kept putting it off.
On Christmas Day 2007, John accidentally swapped Fiz and Rosie's presents and gave Fiz's to Rosie. When Fiz opened hers, revealing Rosie's, she stormed round to the Websters' house and believed it was Sally having the affair, but when it was revealed to be Rosie, her angry father Kevin attacked John in the Street and beat him up. John managed to call an ambulance and Kevin was arrested for assault but was later released. John left the Street.
When Fiz left him again, and John spotted Rosie outside a nightclub, he bundled her into a taxi and drove her through the streets of Weatherfield, blaming her for all the misfortunes happening to him. He took her back home and when she tried to tell her parents what he had done, he denied everything and everyone believed him. Sometime later, John kidnapped Rosie and locked her up in the attic of his gran's former house, but then Fiz decided to get back with him after John ended up in a car crash.
After being held prisoner in the attic for a few weeks, Rosie attacked John when Fiz came round to the house to "feed the cat" (he used it as an excuse to visit Rosie) and John tried to explain what was happening. Fiz split up with John again and he was later arrested and kept in custody.
When Fiz's younger brother Chesney was getting bullied at school in 2009, she decided to have him home-schooled. She made the decision to turn to John for advice, and John believed that Fiz was giving him another chance, but Fiz assured him they were only doing this for Chesney, which John agreed to.
However they began to fall for each other again and Fiz began having feelings for John, but when Chesney found out about what Fiz had been up to, and so did the Websters, John decided that he didn't want contact with Fiz as he didn't want her to fall out with her brother over him. Fiz attempted to try and contact John again, but he wanted nothing to do with her. John also got in contact with Rosie, and told her he was giving her £150,000 from selling his late grandmother's house as compensation to her. Over time, John sank into depression and became suicidal and was put on suicide watch. Declaring her love for him, Fiz chained herself to prison gates
holding up a banner saying "I LOVE YOU JOHN STAPE". Happy, John accepted her and the pair got engaged. They got married in October that year, and John was released from prison the following month and moved back in with Fiz, much to the annoyance of Sally.
John got himself a job at Roy's Rolls, and Rosie attempted to get him sent back to prison by making accusations that he tried to assault her. But in the packed pub, John managed to call her bluff and reveal her as a liar, putting everyone on his and Fiz's side. After this, John was accepted back into the community (except by the Websters), and even helped produced a Christmas play Cinderella for charity in the Rovers Return.
John attended the leaving party of his ex-teaching colleague Colin Fishwick in April 2010. Wanting to teach again, John stole some of Colin's stuff and devised a plan to set up a fake identity under his name in order to teach again, and thought nothing against it as Colin was leaving for Canada. John managed to secure himself a teaching job at Daisyfield High School.
However a few months later, whilst attending a teaching conference, John crossed paths with another ex-colleague Charlotte Hoyle (who he last saw at Colin's leaving do). He was forced to confess all, and she found it all exciting. She began to turn up at John's doorstep, much to the annoyance of Fiz who wanted rid of her. Charlotte later announced that Colin was returning, and she and John met him in the pub and John decided to confess what he had done. Colin was fine about it for the moment, but when a man turned up on John's doorstep thinking he was Colin (he was the reason Colin fled, as Colin had an affair with his wife), Fiz pointed the man in the right way and Colin ended up beaten. He then told John he wanted a lot of money, or he would go the police.
John and Charlotte waited at John's house for Colin to arrive, and Colin wasn't happy with the amount of money John gave him and decided to phone the police, but later collapsed with a brain haemorrhage. John then had him wrapped up in a carpet and got Charlotte to help him smuggle the body away. When she locked the keys of her car in the boot, they hid the body in a hole at Underworld (which was blown up by Tony Gordon a month earlier) intending to collect it in the morning. But when he returned, the hole was filled with cement by workmen, and he was relieved. He and Charlotte got hold of Colin's stuff and burnt it. Fiz briefly left for a holiday, but returned to announce she was pregnant and they got back together. Charlotte stayed away as Fiz threatened her to keep away from John. John got himself a job at Barlow's Bookies.
In November 2010, he began receiving strange letters. His first suspect was Charlotte, but he realised she was receiving them as well. But then when looking through her drawers, he saw all the material she was using to send them. She then got him to live a double life with her, or else she would tell Fiz the truth, and John agreed. She then wanted him to split up with Fiz and move in with her, and John "agreed", only to keep her at bay.
On the 6th December 2010, Charlotte turned up at the house and demanded John leave Fiz for her, and when John refused, Charlotte grabbed a hammer and swung it at him. After he pried it from her, she attempted to run off to tell Fiz, and John hit her with the hammer. When he attempted to dial 999, an explosion at The Joinery bar caused a tram to crash into the Street. John left for hospital with Fiz as she went into early labour and gave birth to a premature daughter, who Fiz named Hope. John later returned to the Street and placed the body near the wreckage. At the hospital, Charlotte's parents Alan and Dorothy (believing John was Charlotte's boyfriend and also Colin) allowed him to make the decision of turning off her life support as she was brain damaged, which John accepted.
John began doing odd-jobs for Colin's ill mother Joy as he felt guilty. When she began to get suspicious, John confessed the truth about what he did to Colin. When she needed her angina spray, he withheld it until she agreed not to tell the police and held his hand over her mouth to stop her shouting for a neighbour at the door, which caused her death. Her death was treated as natural and John wasn't found out. However, he had a breakdown then had to be sectioned and spent the next two months in hospital. When he got out, he got to see his daughter Hope who was let out of hospital.
John began to have another breakdown when Ben Dean, Joy's solicitor, turned up wanting to talk to Fiz and "Colin" (he had to pretend to be Colin again). At the bookies, a police officer walked in wanting to talk to Peter but John believed the policeman came for him and he hid in the office, locking himself away. When Peter went to get Fiz, John fled the Street. He took "Colin's" bank card from the house and withdrew £500 and shoved it through Charlotte's parents' letterbox, and was caught by them. They took him inside and realised he was in a bad place, and phoned Fiz (not realising Fiz was in fact his wife) to collect him. John eventually confessed to Fiz that Charlotte had been stalking him and he blames himself for her death, as she was with him on the night of the tram crash, but didn't tell Fiz he was the one who killed her. Chesney got suspicious and began investigating John, and realised he was hanging around when Joy's neighbour discovered her dead. Chesney went to see the Hoyles, and gave them the address of where John was.
The Hoyles turned up but John decided to go back to their place. In Alan Hoyle's cellar, which he converted into a bar, he confronted John and revealed he knew he was lying and asked him why he was wearing a wedding ring. Before John could explain, Dorothy turned up with his wallet, and revealed his true identity as John Stape, not Colin. John tied them up, and later lured Chesney into the cellar before tying him up as well. He planned on escaping and told Fiz that Colin had returned to town. But he was shocked to discover that Colin was about to be dug up at Underworld as there were problems with the pipes and the floor needed to be dug up. He persuaded Owen Armstrong to give him a job and later on at night, dug up the floor himself getting hold of Colin's body, only to be discovered by Fiz. He revealed the truth about Colin, and got her to help him dispose of the body by threatening to bring her down with him if she went to the police. They disposed of the body in Weatherfield Canal and Fiz decided to accept and flee the Street with him. However, when they found out that Katy Armstrong, Chesney's girlfriend, was about to abort their baby, John panicked and tried to convince her not to, and headed back to the cellar, only to find Chesney and the Hoyles untied.
Chesney threatened John with a bar stool, calling his bluff that John will kill them, and John confessed that he killed both Charlotte and Joy Fishwick, only for Fiz to appear at the top of the stairs, hearing every word. Angry and upset, John fled back to Coronation Street and tried to take Hope from Maria and nearly attacked her, but escaped out the back door when Fiz, Kirk and the police arrive at the house. John ended up hiding out in the attic while a large manhunt began when his secrets came out. He snatched his daughter Hope when caught by Fiz, and made a run for it and Fiz was hit by Owen's van when chasing after him.
Disguised as a doctor, John managed to sneak into Weatherfield General and tried to convince Fiz to run away with him. She pretended to go along with it, but pressed the panic button alerting a nurse. John, realising what she had done, escaped to the hospital roof carrying Hope in his arms. Fiz and the police reached the roof, and John stated he only wanted to teach, which led to many deaths. Fiz begged him to hand over Hope, which he did. He then stood on the edge of the roof and threw himself off, and was presumably killed after the fall. However, he somehow survived, and police broke the news to Fiz that John's body wasn't there when they went to collect it. John later went on the run to Ireland leaving Fiz to take the blame. She was accused of murder and locked up until her trial.
A few months after he fled Weatherfield, he returned when Fiz was eventually put on trial accused of killing Colin, Charlotte and Joy. He kidnapped Rosie posing as someone wanting to view Jason Grimshaw's flat, calling himself "Mr Chips". When he arrived, he tied her up and started to tell her the events of the three deaths, so she could tell the court about it and get Fiz let off. He kept her overnight, and the next day got angry due to her forgetting. When Kevin and Jason arrived at the flat due to Rosie's disappearance, John managed to flee and escape in the car heading towards the court. Kevin gave pursuit, but John ended up crashing his car trying to evade him. John was rushed to Weatherfield General where he was in a critical condition.
Fearing he could die any moment, Fiz was allowed to go and see him with his daughter Hope. John managed to come round, and confessed to the police stating that Fiz had nothing to do with Colin's murder (which was the only one she was found guilty for). John got to see Hope, and Fiz told him that she had forgiven him and would always tell Hope about him. John admitted that he now had nothing to be scared of, and then passed away.
During his time on the street, his parents never visited. In 2009 while still in prison, John spoke to his parents on the phone, who where unable to attend his wedding to Fiz Brown. When John died in 2011, they weren't at his funeral for reasons unknown.
John had a close relationship with his grandmother Nel. When she passed away in 2008, she left John her country house in her will, and £190,000. John used the house to imprison Rosie Webster, but after he was arrested he gave her the money as compensation for what he had done to her. Rosie later lost this money to Luke Strong.
Some years prior to knowing Fiz, he had secretly fathered a daughter named Jade Rowan, although Fiz and the street residents were unaware of this.
Prior to their reunion in 2007, Fiz and John were in a relationship many years before, but had lost contact. When John began to teach at Weatherfield High, they were together once again. However, John's lying and deeds split him and Fiz up several times, one time when him he had an affair with sixteen-year-old student Rosie Webster, which was revealed at Christmas.
When John returned again in late 2008, Fiz's brother Chesney didn't like John because of his treatment of Fiz, and even claimed he hit him even though John was defending him from bullies. Fiz later supported John after his grandmother's death, but realised that she couldn't trust him. This led to him kidnapping Rosie, but then Fiz wanted him back, and the truth wasn't discovered until Fiz went to feed his cat (which was an excuse to go and see Rosie).
While serving his sentence in Highfield Prison, Fiz visited him to get advice about home-schooling Chesney but they fell in love once again, which angered Chesney and the Websters, but John and Fiz later got engaged and married in prison. John was released and went back to live with her. Fiz stuck by him when he decided to steal his ex-teaching friend Colin Fishwick's identity. When he was stalked by Charlotte Hoyle, Fiz had enough and left for a holiday, but returned when finding out she was pregnant and John gave up his teaching job, unknown to Fiz that John had concealed the real Colin's body beneath Underworld. Their daughter was born prematurely in December 2010, Fiz's labour brought on when a tram crashed into the street and feared that John had been killed. Unknown to her, he hit Charlotte with a hammer and put her body onto the crash site. John began to slowly deteriorate and visited Colin's sick mother Joy, accidentally killing her after confessing the truth. John went into hospital after suffering a breakdown, and Fiz ended up claiming Joy's inheritance to look after Hope, who was later released from hospital. John was discharged and came back home.
However in June 2011, John's secrets came out when Chesney visited Alan and Dorothy Hoyle, and John locked them in a cellar. Fiz followed John to their house and was shocked when hearing him confessing the truth about murdering Charlotte and Joy. He fled and later snatched Hope, but he handed her over the roof of Weatherfield General (Fiz ended up in hospital after being hit by a van) and John jumped. Fiz was devastated over the whole incident, but was given the news that John had vanished and was on the run. She was left to take the rap for the identity fraud and stealing Joy's money, although she was cleared for being part of the murder. John returned later in the year when Fiz was accused of the murders, eventually found guilty of Colin Fishwick's death. John ended up in a car crash after kidnapping Rosie Webster again and was in critical condition, but managed to confess that Fiz had nothing to do with it. Fiz forgave John again before he died, leaving her distraught.
John gave Sally private teaching lessons to help with her education. Although she was in love with John and considered having an affair, he wasn't interested, although mainly because he was embarking in a secret relationship with her daughter Rosie, and after it came out into the open Sally's husband Kevin attacked John.
Despite John's affair with Rosie, the Websters learned to tolerate him, especially after Rosie "lied" about John bundling her into his taxi. After John kidnapped Rosie for real though and held her captive in his gran's attic for five weeks, Sally and Kevin's attitude to Kevin rightfully soured. Although when John was kept on suicide watch in prison, Sally appeared to show some slight sympathy, because despite his actions she didn't wish for him to die.
After John was released and moved in with Fiz (who he had married whilst still in prison), Sally carried out a campaign of harassment on the pair, which included painting over their windows. Following Rosie claiming that John had attempted to make a move on her, the rest of the neighbours sided with the Websters as they held a community meeting in the pub on whether or not to banish John from the area, however after it was revealed Rosie was lying, an embarrassed Sally forced her to apologise and John was welcomed back into the street. Following this incident, Sally had little to do with John.
Following John's death after it turned out he was involved in the deaths of three people and briefly held Rosie captive again, Sally crashed his wake to insult John's memory.
Rosie was the pupil of John and they embarked on an affair. This wasn't discovered until Christmas which led to Rosie's dad Kevin beating John up and later being charged.
A year later, John ended up kidnapping Rosie and blaming her for ruining his life with Fiz, and kept her imprisoned in his dead Gran's attic for five weeks. Rosie managed to escape by hitting John over the head and escaped with the help of Fiz. John was imprisoned for the abduction, but later was released and moved back with Fiz in Coronation Street after marrying her when they got back together. Rosie attempted to have John arrested again by claiming he tried to touch her, but the residents saw through her lies when the story didn't add up, and John was later accepted back into the community.
Rosie still resented John over it and brought it up from time to time to put him down.
In 2011 when Fiz was accused of murders caused by John, he kidnapped Rosie again when posing as a buyer for her boyfriend Jason Grimshaw's flat, and told her about the deaths so she can tell the court. Kevin and Jason arrived when worried about Rosie and saved her, while he escaped and ran off.
Role in the community
Despite his dodgy deeds, John has still played a part in the community when people gradually accepted him. Shortly after getting out of prison in 2009, Claire Peacock and Becky McDonald asked John to help them organise a charity Christmas play for the Rovers Return. John had helped to write the script, the play being Cinderella, and helped with the casting and directing.
- Unknown to Fiz and the other street residents, John had fathered a daughter named Jade Rowan years prior to his arrival on Coronation Street in 2007. Jade arrived on the street in 2019 (eight years following John's death) in order to avenge his death, assuming that he was innocent of his murderous crimes, and grew close to her half-sister Hope.
- Graeme Hawley had left a few times in the role of John Stape. He was in it between June 2007 to January 2008 during the affair with Rosie storyline. Then brought back later in the year for a few months where the character had kidnapped Rosie Webster. In April 2009, he was brought back for a third stint, but spent most of the year in prison before being moved back onto the street. He was written out again in June 2011 at the conclusion of his murder plot, but returned later that year for a week before leaving for good after being killed off.
- Graeme Hawley was nominated in the category "Villain of the Year" at the 2009 and 2011 British Soap Awards for his portrayal of John Stape.
- John Stape's storylines, when first involved in the affair with Rosie Webster, wasn't popular with the viewing public and received complaints due to being accused of giving teaching a bad name. Speaking about it, Graeme stated "I have bumped into a few teachers who haven't been happy with me," Graeme told the Daily Record. "They say, 'You know, we are not all like that.' And my answer to that is, 'I know at least three teachers who had affairs with their students when I was at school. You might not have done it, but don't tell me it doesn't happen.'"
- Despite his murderous deeds from 2010 to 2011, John Stape was seen somewhat as a 'tragic' character by most fans, due to his bumbling ways and accidents which basically led to his downfall. His killing of two people were spur of the moment decisions and not premeditated.
First and last lines
"Nice to meet you" (First line, to Kevin Webster)