Vincent "Vinny" Ashford (real name Harvey Bruce McArdle) was an old mate of Pat Phelan from the building trade and a fellow conman who turned up in Weatherfield in August 2016 to tell Phelan about his flat development plan and find out whether he was interested in investing. Later that day the pair met at the Rovers to discuss the financial aspects of the project. Phelan assured Vinny that he would be able to get his hands on money but it would take some time - in reality, Phelan's plan was to get Eileen Grimshaw to agree to invest £65,000 of her son Jason's money in the scheme. Vinny then revealed the truth: the flats weren't actually going to be built and his plan was just an attempt to con people out of the money they would be putting up front for deposits. Following this admittance, Phelan agreed to help Vinny put his scheme into practice.
Later in the month, Vinny called round at 11 Coronation Street unannounced - on the same day that Eileen was due back from visiting Jason in Thailand. After Phelan tried to stall once more, Vinny eventually realised that the investment capital wasn't actually his own money in the first place and warned Phelan that the clock was ticking since there were plenty of others lined up to invest. However, it turned out that Jason had looked over the details and decided to invest his £65,000 in the development, and while at the Rovers, Phelan phoned Vinny to confirm that it was now "all systems go" and told him that he'd get the money as soon as it had cleared through the bank.
Once Eileen had returned from her visit to Thailand, Phelan informed her of their "project" and got her on board. Vinny later accompanied Phelan to the so-called site of the flats, Calcutta Street, so that Phelan could show Eileen the site and sweet talk her into investing Jason's money in the scam. Later that day, Vinny, Phelan and Eileen celebrated after their proposal for the flats was accepted. Their celebrations wouldn't last long however, as Todd Grimshaw cottoned on to what they were up to and threatened to expose their scam for what it really was. Vinny began to get desperate, even suggesting that killing Todd may be an option. Much to their surprise, Todd demanded to be let in on the scam, which Vinny and Phelan had no choice but to accept. However, Todd would back out of the scam later on, promising to keep his mouth shut, but would be keeping an eye on the men and their scam.
In late September and early October, Vinny and Phelan got local residents to purchase the non-existent flats, while also keeping Eileen in the dark about their true intentions. However, this proved to be a thorn in the side of the scam as Vinny found out that Eileen had spent £30,000 on tiles for all the flats. Upon hearing this Vinny was enraged. After this, Eileen became suspicious of Vinny and tracked him down, with Phelan in tow, to the car park of Twilight Casino, where, unknown to Eileen, Vinny was purchasing fake passports for himself and Phelan from a man named Russ. Upon confronting Vinny, he and Phelan claimed that Russ was a buyer of one of the flats, leaving Eileen humiliated and Phelan angry at her after her actions.
However, it wasn't long after this, in November that Michael Rodwell caught wind of the scam and began sniffing around much to Phelan's annoyance. However, after hearing a voicemail from Vinny on Phelan's phone, confirming the whole project as a scam, Michael - after confronting Anna Windass and telling her about what Phelan was up to - headed to the site to find evidence. Phelan soon caught wind of this and confronted Michael at the site, which led to Michael's heart attack and death, as Phelan watched. His body would be found at the site by Todd the next day.
After hearing about the police investigation into Michael's death, Phelan panicked and phoned Vinny, telling him to meet him at Manchester Airport as they were leaving for Mexico. Vinny decided to do a runner instead, emptying their business account and leaving early in the morning in a taxi to the airport, after telling the old lady next door he was going to Hawaii. Phelan later became enraged after learning of Vinny's betrayal and told the police that he was solely responsible for the scam and Michael's death.
In 2017, almost a year after Vinny did a runner, Daniel Osbourne was tipped off about the flat scam by Yasmeen Nazir and began interviewing Phelan about it for the Weatherfield Gazette. Phelan told him that Vinny was responsible and threatened Daniel to keep quiet or he would "hurt him". Daniel tracked down Vinny's mother Flora McArdle to the Summer Forest Nursing Home and asked her about the flats before leaving. Unknown to him, Phelan had followed him. Phelan struck up a conversation with the elderly woman, asking her about what Daniel said. He later learned that she was Vinny's mother and that his real name was Harvey McArdle. Flora told him she missed her son, and Phelan learned that Vinny always rang his mum on her birthday, so he paid Flora a visit. He then informed Vinny that if he didn't return to Weatherfield, he would hurt Flora.
Vinny had one last attempt at ridding himself of Phelan. He sent a hit-man to 11 Coronation Street in an attempt to kill him. However, Phelan overpowered him and the attempt failed. Days later Vinny returned and attempted to move his mum to a safe place. However, Flora was nowhere to be found and instead he was greeted at Flora's residence by Phelan. Phelan apprehended Vinny and demanded that Vinny give him the money that he stole from him, at the threat of Flora's life.
Just days later, Vinny met Phelan at an industrial estate and gave him the money in a bag. After demanding to know where his mother was, Phelan knocked him unconscious and drugged him, taking him to the cellar of a derelict house where Andy Carver was also being held hostage. Phelan had promised Andy his freedom if he kept Vinny hostage to which he agreed. Vinny awoke the next morning and was confronted by Andy, who was led to believe by Phelan that Vinny was the one responsible for Michael's death. Vinny denied this and at first tried to get Andy on side. After this failed Vinny attempted to use force to escape, but to no avail. Unknown to Vinny, Phelan spoke to Andy and changed the plan; he'd have to kill Vinny for his freedom. Phelan then tied Vinny up and put him in the back of his Van with Andy and left them for a period of time. After attempting to escape and call for help, once again to no avail Vinny managed to persuade Andy to help him overpower Phelan after he correctly guessed that he wanted Andy to kill him. Vinny told Andy that Phelan would kill them both if they did not act. Phelan later returned and punched Vinny, before setting off in his van. Upon reaching the derelict Legacy Reach Paper Mill, Vinny managed to untie himself and, after motioning to Andy that he was free, feigned unconsciousness as Phelan unloaded them from the van. Whilst Phelan had his back turned, Vinny attacked him, but Andy, after having a change of heart, warned Phelan just as Vinny pounced, which allowed him to overpower Vinny and viciously beat him and take him into the warehouse. Phelan then handed Andy the gun and told him the false story of how Vinny was about to shoot Michael before his heart attack, in an attempt to persuade Andy to pull the trigger. Vinny's silent pleas for his life were no good and Andy shot him dead with a single bullet. Andy would then be killed by the same weapon by Phelan minutes later. Both of the men's bodies were dumped in the site's millpond afterwards.
Months later in 2018, Legacy Reach, the mill where Vinny and Andy's bodies were was due to be renovated into flats and as a result, the millpond was to be drained. Phelan heard about this and managed to get a job on the site. On the day the draining began, at the dead of night. Phelan moved the bodies from the water into the foundations of the building that he had just started to pour. Despite falling into the wet concrete, Phelan survived and the bodies remained hidden. However, in late March of the same year, site manager Mona Beattie told Phelan that he had done a bad job with the concrete and it was to be demolished. The building crew were beaten to it by Gary Windass and Seb Franklin, who believed that Phelan's gun was hidden in the concrete and destroyed it themselves. Consequently, the two bodies were discovered by police and an investigation began. This discovery had surprised Gary and Seb, as the pair were more concerned in proving Phelan's role in killing Andy's friend Luke Britton so much that they were oblivious to the fact that they had actually uncovered the bodies of Andy and Vinny themselves.
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