When Joe Carter joined Underworld as Mike Baldwin's manager in May 2002, there was an instant love-hate relationship between him and Karen McDonald. Joe finally reached the stage of desiring Karen but she stayed loyal to husband Steve. Joe engineered a "business trip" to Wolverhampton for a trade fair and asked Karen to go with him. He wound her up when she appeared reluctant by saying that she had to choose between being a housewife to Steve or a businesswoman, while a jealous Steve, alarmed when he learned almost as an afterthought that the trip involved an overnight stay, firmly opposed the idea. This resolved Karen to accept the invitation, despite Steve's ultimatum that if she went, their marriage was over. She duly left and Steve panicked. When he got the name of the hotel they were staying at, he learnt that there was no room booking in the name of McDonald, only in the name of Carter, and he came to the conclusion that Karen had chosen Joe over him and that they were having an affair.
He drowned his sorrows in a bar in town where he met attractive Julie Roxburgh who came on to him by complementing him on his eyes and buying him a Scotch. Julie, separated from her own husband, was very forward and made her intentions for the evening crystal clear. Steve took her home to his flat and slept with her, not knowing that down in Wolverhampton, Karen had firmly rejected Joe's obvious advances and had decided to come home immediately. With Julie still in their bed, Steve heard a message over their phone that Karen was half an hour away by taxi and panicked. He offered an offended Julie £10 towards a taxi and was mightily relieved when she departed the flat. When Karen arrived he discovered that the other room booking had been in the name of Baldwin as Mike had been the one who had planned to go with Joe originally and that she would feel disgusted with herself if she had slept with anyone else. Steve's undoing came when she went into the bedroom, smelt a different perfume on the sheets to her own and found a blond hair. Utterly distraught at his betrayal, she left Steve.