> Guest Character
Charlotte Stone Rachel Gordon
Charlotte Stone 2007
Occupation: Con Artist
Only days after the arrival of mysterious spiritualist Terrence Chesterton in Erinsborough, Dr Charlotte Stone set up practice at Lassiter’s, in the office formerly used by Dr Karl Kennedy. What the locals failed to realise was that Terrence and Charlotte were both fakes, working together to fleece the locals, having moved on from conning lonely women out of their money in South Australia. Charlotte had broken into the office of Dr Standford MundyBoyd Hoyland as her receptionist, regularly “testing” him with questions about how to treat a patient, or using his skills to perform minor procedures, under the pretence of allowing him to get some practice in.
One of Charlotte’s first patients was Carmella Cammeniti, who was depressed, following problems with her boyfriend Oliver Barnes. After getting some advice from Boyd, Charlotte prescribed anti-depressants and, before long, Carmella found herself hooked on them. Charlotte also proceeded to treat Paul Robinson, who was suffering from headaches and dizzy spells. Unsure how to treat him, Charlotte told him that it was just stress and regular massages – which she was happy to provide – would relax him, and proceeded to note down his credit cards details while he was dozing on the massage table. Meanwhile, Terrence was busy convincing Sky Mangel that he was contacting her recently deceased boyfriend Stingray Timmins. When Sky’s family became worried that she wasn’t coping with her grief, Terrence suggested a visit to the new doctor, who promptly encouraged Sky to continue seeing Terrence if it was what she wanted to do.
Meanwhile, Charlotte’s plans to fleece Paul came unstuck when she found out that he’d been conned out of his entire fortune and all of his businesses by his daughter, Elle. Paul begged Charlotte to help him, offering her $100,000 have him declared mentally incompetent, so that the forms Elle conned him into signing would be void. But, realising that it would compromise her entire plan, with the authorities checking up on her and, as Paul continued to suffer crippling headaches, she agreed to refer him to a neurologist, who suspected a brain tumour. Charlotte was in for another shock when she met up with Frazer Yeats, an old boyfriend with whom she’d scammed casinos several years earlier. She managed to convince him that she’d undergone her medical training and become a reformed character, while Frazer had also turned his life around and was in a relationship with lawyer Rosetta Cammeniti, who worked in the office opposite Charlotte’s. Frazer and Rosie’s relationship was facing problems, since Frazer had recently been crippled in an accident, and Charlotte managed to get more information about the relationship from Carmella, Rosie’s sister, before deciding that she wanted Frazer back. Her seduction plan failed as Frazer turned her down and her attempts to convince Rosie that something had gone on were met with laughter.
Meanwhile, Terrence’s relationship with Sky had gone too far and, after learning that they’d slept together, Charlotte was appalled, worried that he would again ruin their plans, as he had done by having sex with one of their victims in South Australia. But Sky was already suspicious and tricked Terrence with questions about Stingray. Realising that he’d been taking her for a ride, Sky lashed out and hit Terrence with a sugar dispenser, knocking him out. After calling Terrence and hearing his phone ringing, Charlotte found her accomplice in the General Store and realised what had happened. As Terrence came to, he told her that he was no longer going to be taking orders from her, and would shop her to the police if she continued to treat him like dirt. Angered by his words, Charlotte grabbed the sugar dispenser and delivered a second blow to Terrence’s skull, this time killing him. Later, at the surgery, Charlotte managed to get Boyd’s fingerprints on the sugar dispenser, before stopping his questions about her strange behaviour, by kissing him. But her plan to frame Boyd came to nothing when she found out that Sky had been arrested for the crime, thinking that it was her initial blow to Terrence’s head that had killed him.
Meanwhile, Rosie was growing concerned by her sister’s behaviour and demanded an explanation from Charlotte. Realising that her sister had a pill problem and wasn’t getting the support she needed from her doctor, Rosie threatened to go to the medical board and so Charlotte managed to get Boyd to speak to Carmella and drop the issue. But Boyd was starting to worry about Charlotte when she sent a concussed Janae Timmins home, rather than to hospital. When Boyd pushed the issue, Charlotte suggested that he was concerned because Janae was his ex-wife, and again shut him up by kissing him. Happy with the way their relationship was headed, Boyd invited Charlotte along to a dinner party with her stepmum Steph, her partner Toadie, as well as Rosie and Frazer, and Dr Karl, now working as a drug rep, and his wife, Susan. With Karl firing all sorts of medical questions at her, Charlotte struggled to keep up the pretence, and quickly leapt up to answer the door when Rosie came over to explain that she and Frazer wouldn’t be able to make it. By the end of the evening, Karl was beginning to wonder if she was a fake and, after finding out about her past from Frazer, they all began to worry that they were being conned.
During a meeting with Charlotte in his role as drug rep, Karl attempted to trip her up but failed, as she had done her homework. But when Karl noticed her medical certificates and the paperweight, he was reminded of his old friend Standford Mundy. When Standford popped by the Kennedy house to drop off some papers, Karl mentioned the paperweight, but was informed that it had been stolen several weeks earlier and was a one-off, made for him overseas. Suddenly the penny dropped, and everyone realised that she was a fake, with fake qualifications and no medical knowledge whatsoever. Meanwhile, Boyd also found Charlotte out, when he mentioned that Paul had been diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, only for Charlotte to say that she was relieved, as she thought it might have been something serious like a brain tumour. Having finally been rumbled, Charlotte told Boyd everything but he decided that, if she was going to run off again, he was going with her. As he prepared for their little adventure, he overheard Lou and Harold at the General Store discussing one of their sugar dispensers going missing, and worked out that Sky was in prison for a crime that Charlotte had committed.
Realising that he might be able to get a confession out of her, Boyd continued with his plan to run off with Charlotte and, in the car, admitted to her that he had done something far worse than the fraud she’d committed – he had killed someone. His admission finally got Charlotte to confess, and Boyd recorded it all on his MP3 player. The next day, realising that the police were onto them, Charlotte and Boyd drove off, with the police giving chase and resulting in a car crash. Both were taken to hospital, where Charlotte lied that Boyd had kidnapped her and had admitted to being a murderer – but it was a crime that the police had no record of. Boyd, meanwhile, was claiming that Charlotte had murdered Terrence, but had lost his MP3 player in the crash and had no proof. Luckily, Steph and Toadie believed him and drove to the crash site, where they found the MP3 player, clearing both Sky and Boyd and incriminating Charlotte, who was driven in through the prison gates as Sky walked out to her freedom.
• In 2006, Rachel Gordon married Scott Johnson, who appeared opposite her in Neighbours as Terrence Chesteron