When Leanne Battersby returned to Weatherfield in June 2004 after four years away, she took an instant dislike to Maria Sutherland when she saw that she was ex-husband Nick Tilsley’s new girlfriend. This feeling was exacerbated when she discovered that Maria had also had a fling with stepsister Toyah's boyfriend - John Arnley, despite the fact that the two were supposed to be friends.
Although not wanting Nick back for herself, she created an otherwise impression at every opportunity, coming between Nick and Maria as much as possible. After a disastrous night out at Valandro's for Leanne’s birthday when she invited as many of Maria’s ex-boyfriends as possible to make her past look as disreputable as possible, Maria demanded that Nick have nothing more to do with her. However he had already promised to see Leanne at Janice Battersby’s flat on some urgent matter. He kept the appointment, during which she snapped photographs him on her mobile and phoned them through to Maria with the text, "Guess who’s in my bed?" When the entryphone on the flat buzzed, Leanne let the caller straight in without checking on their identity and unbuttoned her blouse, expecting fireworks. She was as surprised as anyone when Phil Mason, an old boyfriend, was the one who walked in, followed closely by Maria who argued briefly with Nick before the two left, leaving Phil perplexed as to what he had just encountered.
Janice was introduced to Phil who Leanne had met on a channel crossing and they lived together in Leeds. He had just been released from jail for smuggling cigarettes and alcohol. The three went to the Rovers for a drink where a slanging match ensued between the Platts and the Battersbys during which Phil caught enough of the backstory to realise that the act with Nick and Maria wasn’t a prank as she claimed but an act of vindictiveness. When he witnessed her roundly abusing Gail Platt and Audrey Roberts he walked out. Leanne followed and he told her that he’d been out of prison for a week now and had been weighing up whether or not to take up with her again where they’d left off, however after witnessing her behaviour he’d decided that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Leanne, liking Phil, was upset that her scheming had backfired on her.