Sandra Stubbs was cleaner and barmaid at the Rovers Return Inn from 1988 to 1989. Mother of thirteen-year-old Jason Stubbs, Sandra was fleeing from her abusive husband Ronnie when she started at the Rovers. When Social Services discovered she was leaving Jason on his own while she worked, Sandra had to quit the Rovers and move in with her mother.
In May 1988, Sandra Stubbs walked out on her husband Ronnie, taking their son Jason with her. It was an end to years of domestic abuse which Sandra had endured due to Ronnie's close relationship with Jason, his gentleness when sober, and his job on the ships which meant he spent most of his time at sea. However, his drunken violence was so severe that in November 1986 a social worker was called out to assess whether he posed a risk to Jason, although no action was taken.
Leaving Ronnie just after he'd returned to work, Sandra made it as difficult as possible for him to track her down, moving into Flat 3, 44 Rosamund Street at the other side of Weatherfield and enrolling Jason into a new school. She was still sporting a black eye when Alec Gilroy interviewed her for the position of cleaner at the Rovers Return. Alec was put off by the black eye but Bet insisted that he didn't hold that against her, so she was taken on.
Sandra's new start was immediately fraught with ups and downs. She was late on her first day at the Rovers as she had to see Jason settled into his new school, but her work was good enough to impress Mike Baldwin who took her on as a cleaner at his flat at 46b, St. Mary's Place. Jason also got a job, as a paperboy at The Kabin. He replaced Wayne Pickles, who guarded his round and beat Jason up for "stealing" his job. When Sandra found out about this, she went to have a word with Mrs Pickles and punched the woman when Mrs Pickles attacked her. Wayne gave Jason no more trouble but Sandra hated herself for using violence.
Ronnie heard on the grapevine that Sandra had a job at the Rovers and managed to track her and Jason down. Sandra knew he was due to return to his ship in a few days so pulled Jason out of school, hoping to avoid Ronnie until he left, but then decided to face him to get it over with. There Ronnie tried to be reasonable, swearing he was a changed man but he'd said the same thing before and it hadn't changed him, so Sandra refused to listen. A drunken Ronnie then followed Sandra to her flat and, in private, was more aggressive with her, hitting her in front of Jason. He ran off when Jason left to get help. Sandra was very badly bruised in the face and decided for the first time to lodge an official complaint about Ronnie. She got an injunction from the courts and Ronnie was told to keep his distance from them both.
With Ronnie out of the picture, Sandra started to feel better about herself. In August, she put on her glad rags for a night out with Gloria Todd - her first proper night out in years. She was chatted up by Tony Walker, a friend of Mike's, but she was upset when the next day in the Rovers he didn't recognise her in her normal clothes.
In November, Sandra met domestic appliance engineer Pete Shaw when they bumped trolleys at the supermarket. The couple started dating, with Sandra quickly falling for Pete, appreciating a man who made her feel good to be a woman, and one who laughed at the same things as her. However, just as things seemed to be going well, Pete began absenting himself, causing Sandra to worry that he was going off her. In fact, he was having an affair with Sandra's fellow barmaid Gloria Todd, but as he was unable to face Sandra to tell her, it fell to Gloria. Furious, Sandra called Gloria a smug tart and threw a pint at her, causing Alec to sack her and bar her from the premises. When a guilt-ridden Gloria quit in Sandra's favour, Sandra managed to haggle a rise out of Alec in exchange for returning to work.
In February 1989, Ken Barlow warned Sandra that Jason and his mates had been drinking underage while unsupervised in the flat. Later that day, the police called enquiring about Jason's drinking, having found out about it when his mates were caught vandalising a car. Social Services were put onto the case, and Sandra was summoned before social worker Mrs Lambert. Sandra was warned that it was illegal to leave Jason on his own after school hours while she worked, and drew a correlation between her working at a bar and Jason's drinking. Sandra was worried that Jason was going to be taken off her but Jason was permitted to remain in her care as long as she made the necessary changes to her circumstances. Left with no choice, Sandra resigned from the Rovers and moved with Jason to her mother's until she found somewhere more permanent. Just before leaving the Street for the last time, Sandra rowed with Alf Roberts, blaming him for causing her problems by selling lager cans to Jason and his mates at the Corner Shop.
Sandra was a devoted mother, and was mostly concerned with providing for Jason. Liberated by leaving Ronnie after years of unhappy marriage, Sandra was keen to let her hair down but she found it difficult to enjoy herself, being more mousy and homely than her colleague Gloria Todd, with whom she went on the occasional night out.
First and last lines
"Oh it's not a drink I'm looking for love, it's a job." (First line, to Betty Turpin)
"Yeah well I do, I do know. Cos it was your shop, cos they said it was. So thanks a lot. I mean really, thanks a lot for what you've done to me." (Final line, to Alf Roberts)