Neil Fearns was a student at Weatherfield Comprehensive and former classmate of Sarah Louise Platt. In late-1999 the pair slept together at the age of twelve and the following year Sarah was shocked to discover that she was pregnant shortly after her thirteenth birthday. Martin and Gail Platt wanted to see the father and Sarah took them to the school to point him out. The pair were shocked to discover that Neil was just a young lad himself, as Gail had expected the father to be a much older boy taking advantage of Sarah Louise.
When Sarah was subjected to teasing and bullying at school over her pregnancy, Neil approached her to ask if she was alright, but she told him to get lost. Neil's father Mr Fearns later visited Gail at her workplace Roy's Rolls offering to help with child support, however she turned down his offer, saying that Neil may as well enjoy his childhood. Sarah later gave birth to a baby girl she named Bethany in June 2000, however Neil wouldn't see his daughter. On her first birthday, Neil's family sent the Platts a cheque.
In September 2003, Neil was involved in a car crash and died. Martin and Gail broke the news to Sarah who was shocked at Neil's death but not overly emotional. At Martin's insistence, Sarah took Bethany to Neil's funeral where she met his mother, Brenda. Following Neil's death, Brenda became mentally unstable. She became attached to Bethany and kidnapped her after she began visiting her regularly. After Brenda was found with Bethany in the bell tower at St. Saviour's Church and threatening to jump, Emily Bishop managed to persuade Brenda to come down. The child was safely returned to her mother, and Brenda was left sobbing in the back of an ambulance.