Why did Sonia Fowler go to prison in EastEnders?

The fan favourite was accused of murder. But was she really responsible?

KATHY Beale was arrested for the fire that ravaged her café in Bridge Street and Sonia Fowler can only sympathise.

The EastEnders legend played by Natalie Cassidy was once taken to prison herself. Here’s what you need to know.

Sonia was sent to prison after being accused of murder

Sonia was sent to prison after being accused of murderCredit: BBC

What happened to Sonia Fowler in EastEnders?

Ready to build her own family with Reiss Colwell (played by Jonny Freeman), the nurse recently agreed to go through the IVF process with him after finding out he was sterile.

The pair have grown closer in a handful of months after Reiss moved into Sonia’s as her housemate.

Reiss was initially introduced as a member of the late Dot Cotton’s family and he first showed up in Albert Square to attend her funeral.

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Since then, their connection became romantic.

However, both characters are keeping their own secrets and one of Sonia’s forgotten storylines was briefly mentioned during last night’s (Tuesday, November 14, 2023) instalment of the BBC One soap.

Sonia has sympathised with Kathy Beale’s (Gillian Taylforth) recent arrest as she was accused of burning down her own café by Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins).

And while the truth and Rocky Cotton’s involvement remain under wraps, Reiss was shocked to find out that his other half was once behind bars herself.

Reiss continuously questioned Sonia, desperate to know more about the woman he thought he knew so well.

But could finding out that she was once accused of murdering another Walford resident be a deal-breaker for Reiss?

Why did Sonia Fowler go to prison in EastEnders?

Diehard fans of the London-based soap will remember that Sonia Fowler was arrested in early 2007, in the middle of Pauline Fowler’s funeral.

Pauline, a Walford icon and one of the original twenty-three soap characters, was Sonia’s mother-in-law during her marriage to Martin Fowler (then played by James Alexandrou).

She was found dead in the snow, next to her husband Arthur’s bench, on Christmas Day in 2006, after succumbing to a brain haemorrhage.

When it was revealed that the haemorrhage had been caused by a head injury, Sonia was immediately blamed due to her conflictual relationship with Pauline.

It all started six years before Pauline’s death, when her son Martin was revealed to be the father of Sonia’s daughter Chloe aka Bex.

Sonia became pregnant at the age of fifteen, giving birth to her daughter at home and she decided to put the baby up for adoption, which triggered a huge feud between the Jacksons and the Fowlers.

Eager to be involved in her granddaughter’s life, Pauline demanded custody of the baby but she lost out.

Five years later, Bex’s adoptive parents were killed in a car accident, prompting Martin and Sonia (who were then married) to track her down.

Once again, Pauline demanded to be a part of Bex’s life and paid her a secret visit during which she misled her adoptive grandmother Margaret Wilson in an attempt to have her son and Sonia named as the young girl’s guardians in her will.

The plot backfired but Martin and Sonia were still given custody of Bex following Margaret’s death.

Unfortunately, this only made things more tense between Sonia and Pauline.

Who really killed Pauline Fowler in EastEnders?

But while her feud with Pauline made her the perfect culprit, Sonia was actually never involved in the matriarch’s death.

Bex was the first to suspect that her mother may have had a role in her grandmother’s death but the real killer was none other than Pauline’s own husband, Joe Macer – who, ironically, Martin has always suspected.

In January, 2007, Joe finally confessed what he had done to Dot Cotton and explained what had really happened.

At the time, both him and Pauline had been arguing and Joe returned to their home to fix things, but his wife refused, ordering him out.

In a fit of rage, after Pauline had continuously insulted him and dared him to “be a man”, Joe picked up a nearby frying pan and hit her hard over the head.

Pauline was seemingly fine as Joe walked out but, as mentioned above, she passed away following the blow.

Dot tried to push Joe into doing the right thing and confessing but he held her hostage until her husband Jim Branning showed up.

Joe Macer passed away during a huge showdown with Jim as he crashed through a window and fell into a market stall.

Sonia was eventually cleared of all suspicion but the ordeal was enough to trigger a huge amount of gossip throughout the Square and somewhat tarnish her reputation.

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

Joe Macer was revealed to have killed Pauline

Joe Macer was revealed to have killed PaulineCredit: BBC

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