Despite his incarceration, Ian was more jovial than Rob who brooded over the fact that he was in prison after his sister Carla and girlfriend Tracy Barlow had both betrayed him to the police after finding out that he had murdered Tina McIntyre. In between games to pass the time, such as "Find the Queen" for a bar of Fruit and Nut chocolate, Rob ruminated over how to get his revenge and perceived an opportunity when he saw a photograph in the Weatherfield Gazette of Johnny Connor at an industry dinner.
After a visit from Tracy in which she assured him that she wasn't with anyone else, Rob sent Johnny a visiting order and during the subsequent encounter dropped the bombshell on him that he knew he was his sister's natural father, threatening blackmail. In order to get some form of revenge himself, Johnny told Rob that Tracy was back with her ex-husband, Robert Preston. Rob railed to Ian that she had lied to him and, despite being advised to let the matter go, affirmed his intent to get his revenge and told Ian that he intended to meet Robert face-to-face.
Before doing that, he enticed Tracy into another visit where he span her a yarn that his conviction was being revisited and there was a good chance of him being released. He played on the fact that Tracy was closer to him in character than she was to the more safer and reliable Robert and would come back to him if he was available and he guessed right when Tracy called him on his illicit cell phone to say that she would be there for him when he came out. Rob gloated about this to Ian and rang Robert himself to come in. When he did so, Rob told his rival everything that had occurred and made it clear to him that his girlfriend wasn't as loyal to him as he had thought.
Robert duly finished with Tracy on Christmas Day. She went back to the prison a couple of days later where she tore a strip off him for his actions and, as Ian watched on from a vantage point with his own visitor, Rob told Tracy that his story about his release had been a lie and his intention had been to revenge himself on her. Despite previously telling Rob that his actions were "a bit tight", Ian couldn't help but laugh as a screaming and hysterical Tracy was bundled out of the visiting suite.
List of appearancesEdit