Denise Fox and Lucas Johnson comp image (Credit: BBC/Comp ED!)

As EastEnders villain Lucas Johnson returns, all of his crimes and kills listed

Don Gilet has reprised his killer EastEnders role

EastEnders revealed another return for Lucas Johnson in last night’s episode (Tuesday February 20) as Denise visited her killer ex in prison again.

She was desperate to be absolved of her crimes and felt murderer Lucas was the man to save her from Johnny Carter, who she believes is the devil.

Long-time viewers will remember murderous Lucas for his past stints on the Square. But who did he actually kill?

What are his full list of crimes and why did he end up back in prison after his 2020 release?

And, as he makes another comeback to the soap, what do we know about Don Gilet, who plays him?

Why has Denise gone to see her murderous ex? (Credit: BBC)

Who is Lucas Johnson in EastEnders?

Lucas Johnson in EastEnders is the ex of Denise Fox and father of Chelsea Fox. He abandoned both of them when Chelsea was born as he was just 17 and couldn’t cope. Lucas then became a drug-addicted criminal, but vowed to turn his life around when his best friend, Jordan, died.

He had another son with fellow drug addict Trina and called him Jordan. Lucas then took Jordan away from Trina and moved him to Walford.

When Lucas came back into Denise’s life in April 2008, he had turned to the church and become a preacher. Chelsea tracked her father down and agreed to give him a second chance. He came to her aid when she developed a drug habit.

However Denise was furious at his return and told him to leave. But eventually she softened and they even rekindled their relationship, getting engaged.

But Lucas’s dark side was about to return – with a vengeance.

Trina Johnson grabs her neck after being impaled on a rake
Trina died a pretty brutal death thanks to Lucas (Credit: BBC)

Lucas’s first victim: Trina Johnson

The first person Lucas ‘killed’ was unintentional.

Trina and Lucas were actually still married when he became engaged to Denise. She finally agreed to a divorce, but was planning to move to Walford to be near her son. Trina tried to entice Lucas back with a kiss at the allotments, but it descended into a furious row.

Lucas pushed Trina and her throat accidentally became impaled on a rake. He then left her to die and made it look like an accident due to her drug addiction.

EastEnders: Lucas sits in a car while Owen Turner looms over him looking threatening
Owen was no match for Lucas (Credit: BBC)

Lucas’s second victim: Owen Turner

As Lucas planned his wedding to Denise, her ex-husband, Owen Turner, was on the scene. He was suspicious over Lucas and convinced he was involved in Trina’s death.

Owen confronted Lucas on his wedding day. Determined to keep his secret, Lucas strangled Owen with a bow tie.

Lucas then went off to marry Denise before burying Owen’s body in Albert Square, under the tree dedicated to Trina’s memory.

Lucas’s third victim: Sugar

One of his most upsetting murders was Sugar the dog. Sugar, was originally Syd Chambers’ pet collie, but made her way to becoming Jordan’s pet after being passed along when Syd moved to Canada.

But Sugar had witnessed Lucas burying Owen’s body. She kept sitting by the tree and then even tried to dig it up.

Lucas knew he had to deal with her and offered to take her for a walk by the canal. He then returned without her and told the family she had simply run off. Evil.

Denise Fox looks confused and scared
Denise spent a long time in the basement (Credit: BBC)

Lucas’s fourth victim: Denise Fox

When Owen’s body was finally discovered, Lucas ended up confessing to Denise. He claimed to have killed Owen in self-defence and Denise urged him not to tell the police.

However, when he then admitted letting Trina die, he realised he had to confess everything.

But instead of going to the police station, he took Denise to a canal to baptise her. She refused to submit to God and Lucas strangled her, making it look like she had taken her own life. He then murdered a prostitute who looked like Denise and put her body in the canal. He framed Denise for Trina and Owen’s death and pretended to grieve.

But all-the-while, Denise wasn’t actually dead.

Lucas was keeping her prisoner in the basement of the empty house next door.

When he realised what he was doing was wrong, Lucas allowed Denise to escape and tried to take the family hostage. However, they got away and Lucas was arrested.

In February 2011, Lucas was sentenced to life in prison.

Lucas Johnson returns to EastEnders in 2011

Denise visited Lucas in prison after finding out Jordan was in trouble with the police. Lucas tried to convince her he had been mentally ill and was taking responsibility for his actions. He also told her he was still in love with her.

Denise gave him short shrift, but did agree to help find Jordan. She then invited him and his son, JJ, to move in with her.

Lucas then managed to persuade Denise to help him get on to a scheme that would see him apply for jobs and get more visiting hours. But it was all a plot to enable his escape.

Jordan was helping him and when Denise realised she alerted daughter Libby, who called the police. Jordan and Lucas were arrested and sent back to prison.

Desperate to be a good dad, Lucas sent himself back to prison to protect his daughter (Credit: BBC)

2020 comeback

On Christmas Day 2020 in EastEnders, Lucas Johnson was released from prison. He had reunited with Chelsea and Denise couldn’t believe it when she took her son Raymond to a service and saw Lucas was the speaker.

Patrick and Phil teamed up to scare Lucas away, despite his attempts to explain himself to Denise. However, Lucas was attacked and Chelsea wanted to take him in, especially when she found him sleeping rough.

It soon became clear, however, Chelsea was trying to set him up for drug smuggling and had also been behind the attack.

As she tried to get him to leave the country with her, he refused to go. Denise then went missing, with her blood being found in Lucas’s flat and once again he was accused of kidnapping her.

It turned out Chelsea’s boss was behind the kidnap and Lucas needed to do the drug smuggling job to get Caleb off their backs.

As Lucas tried to persuade everyone he was trying to change, he realised to protect his daughter he had to carry the drugs through customs. Lucas ended up handing his bag over and getting arrested.

Chelsea felt much guilt after Lucas got Caleb arrested too and was then beaten up in prison. But her dad then cut off all contact so she could live a better life without him.

Lucas Johnson in EastEnders looks confused and concerned talking to Denise in prison
Lucas made a surprise return tonight (Credit: BBC)

Lucas Johnson returns to EastEnders in 2024

Denise first went to see Lucas again in January 2024. He was as surprised to see her as viewers were to see him!

Denise is currently spiralling into a mental health crisis after almost killing Nish on Christmas Day and then helping cover up the killing of Keanu Taylor.

When Denise helped bury the body, her iconic D necklace fell into the grave, so she knows if he’s ever discovered, the evidence points to her.

As she loses her grip on reality, she’s hallucinating Keanu. She visited Lucas in an attempt to get some clarity on what happened on Christmas Day.

And now she has told him she buried a body. Lucas is confused and desperately trying to help her. But he can see she’s in the midst of a breakdown and after she flees the prison visiting room again tonight, he calls Jack, explaining his fears.

Many fans have called for a permanent EastEnders return for Lucas, however the soap has not confirmed how long he will be on screen for this time.

Some fans think he could be linked to Pastor Clayton, who is also helping Denise with her issues. Could a full-time return be on the cards?

Don Gilet as John Howells in Shetland series 8
Don Gilet as John Howells in Shetland series 8 (Credit: ITV Studios/Mark Mainz)

Who plays Lucas Johnson in EastEnders?

Lucas is played by Don Gilet. He has played the role on and off since 2008.

Don’s first major role was playing Johnny Lindo in Babyfather. He later landed the lead role in the detective series 55 Degrees North, as Detective Sergeant Nicky Cole.

In 2006, he played Leo Charles in The Line of Beauty, and had a prominent role in the Doctor Who Christmas episode The Runaway Bride. He also played Freddie in Cape Wrath, DC Hutton in One Night, and Gary Thorpe in Love & Marriage.

Don, 56, will also be recognisable to CBeebies viewers, after he played Captain Periwinkle in the series from 2013 to 2014. He played Jesse Law in Holby City, Blake Albrighton in The Loch, and Phillip Griffin in Netflix hit The Stranger.

He also played Jacob Harris in the brilliant TV series Sherwood. Most recently Don was seen in BBC detective drama Shetland.

Siobhan Finneran and Don Gilet smile together at the TV Choice Awards
Siobhan Finneran and Don Gilet have attended red carpet events together (Credit: Jack Hall/Cover Images)

Is Don Gilet married?

Don is very private about his personal life, but it is known that he has one child from a previous relationship with partner Tracy Whitwell, an author.

He’s now rumoured to be dating Happy Valley star Siobhan Finneran after they were spotted holding hands at a recent red carpet event.

Siobhan is one of the UK’s most bankable TV stars and is probably most famous for playing beloved character Clare Cartwright in Happy Valley. She also starred in Benidorm and Downton Abbey as villainous lady’s maid Sarah O’Brien.

Both Siobhan and Don starred together in The Loch in 2017. After this they began to attend social functions together. They attended the 2017 MVISA Awards together. The pair also appeared on the red carpet together at the TV Choice Awards in both 2022 and 2024.

In September 2023, they held hands on the red carpet at The Cure Usher Ball at Hilton, Manchester. The charity event was hosted by Emmerdale star Laura Norton, and her husband Mark Jordon, who played Daz Spencer in the same soap.

In fact, Mark Jordon is Siobhan’s ex-husband proving that the pair have managed to stay friends after their painful divorce.

Neither Siobhan nor Don have ever discussed or confirmed being in a relationship. And their agents have remained tight-lipped. ED! has contacted both Siobhan and Don’s representatives for comment

Read more: Who is leaving EastEnders this year?

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

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Carena Crawford
Associate Editor (Soaps)