Lucy Beale’s 2014 murder: EastEnders’ gripping whodunit mystery

Max Branning went to jail for the crime but who was the real murderer?

Lucy Beale was the daughter of Ian Beale and his troublesome wife Cindy Beale. She was the twin sister of Peter Beale and half-sister of Bobby Beale and Cindy Williams (who we still miss!). She was brutally murdered back in 2014.

The mystery of who killed her ran for almost a year and was one of EastEnders’ most talked about storylines.

Lucy Beale in EastEnders
Lucy Beale was brutally murdered in April 2014, in EastEnders (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

When did Lucy Beale die?

On April 18, 2014, Lucy Beale’s body was discovered on Walford Common, devastating brother Peter and her dad Ian.

In the lead up to her murder, Lucy had managed to get on the wrong side of just about everyone in Walford – meaning everyone was a suspect in her killing.

In the few weeks before she died, Lucy was fighting with Ian who wasn’t being supportive about her new business venture, running a lettings agency with best friend Lauren Branning.

Of course, Lauren didn’t know Lucy was sleeping with her dad, Max Branning. And neither Max, nor Whitney Dean, knew Lucy had also had a fling with Whit’s fella, Lee Carter.

At home, Lucy was annoying her siblings Peter and Bobby, she’d fallen out with former stepmum Jane, and managed to get on the wrong side of Ian’s fiancee Denise Fox.

And as if that wasn’t enough, she’d also crossed paths with Ben Mitchell, who had just been released from prison, and Jay Brown.

Lucy and Max
Lucy and Max had a sleazy affair but he didn’t kill her (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

Who killed Lucy Beale?

Almost everyone in Walford was a suspect in Lucy’s murder, and as the investigation got underway with DI Emma Summerhayes and DS Cameron Bryant leading the police team, a few people were arrested.

First up the finger pointed to Lauren’s on/off boyfriend Jake Stone. He’d sent a message to Lauren via LB Lettings under a false name arranging to meet. He really wanted to talk Lauren into getting back together but Lucy read the message and turned up instead. Jake was drunk, and when Lucy and Max helped him home, he took a swing at Max, but missed and hit Lucy instead, making her nose bleed.

Ben Mitchell was arrested too. He’d just come out of prison for killing Heather Trott, and was the obvious suspect. But it was later revealed he’d just nicked Lucy’s purse – he hadn’t killed her.

Lucy Beale murder
Everyone was a suspect in the Lucy Beale murder (Credit: BBC)

Max Branning

Max was always in the frame for murdering Lucy. Their sleazy affair shocked viewers and Walford locals alike – and because he had Lucy’s blood on his shoes from her nose bleed – the police were convinced he was to blame.

The evidence stacked up, and Max was charged with Lucy’s murder. When Phil Mitchell bribed a member of the jury, Max was found guilty and sent to prison.

Max Branning
Max was convicted of Lucy’s murder (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

Who really killed Lucy?

Lucy’s real killer was finally revealed in the live episode in February 2015, celebrating 30 years of EastEnders.

On the night she died, Lucy had a furious row with dad Ian, because he’d found her cocaine hidden in her music box.

Still angry, Lucy went off to meet Jake, and the events leading up to her murder played out. When Lucy came home after a very eventful evening, she felt bad about arguing with Ian. She wrote him a letter to say sorry.

But as she was writing, little brother Bobby appeared. He whacked Lucy over the head with her music box and killed her!

He panicked and phoned his mum, Jane, who realised Lucy was dead. But wanting to protect Bobby, she lied and said she would take his sis to the hospital. Jane dumped poor Lucy’s body on the common.

Bobby Beale killed sister Lucy
Bobby Beale killed sister Lucy (credit: BBC)

Bobby’s confession

Of course Bobby realised he was responsible for Lucy’s death, but Jane worked with Phil and Sharon to make sure Max took the blame.

Bobby was sent to boarding school in the hope of his behaviour becoming better. But when Ian’s money ran out and the lad was told he’d have to leave. He pushed Jane down the stairs and then attacked her!

And then he took himself off to the Vic, where Stacey and Martin’s wedding party was in full swing. And he announced to the shocked pub that he had killed Lucy!

Bobby Beale confesses
Bobby Beale confessed to murdering Lucy at Martin and Stacey’s wedding (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

Who played Lucy Beale?

Lucy was played by several actresses in her time on screen.  As a tot she was played by Eva Brittin-Snell and Casey Anne Rothery.

Melissa Suffield took over the role in 2004 and stayed in the show until 2010.

When Lucy returned to Walford in 2012, having spent two years living with her grandmother in Devon, she was played by Hetti Bywater.

Hetti was already an experienced young actress having appeared in Casualty and Doctors. Since leaving EastEnders, she has had roles in Death In Paradise and Delicious.

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EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer