Karen Dean

Karen Dean (1990-1991; 1993)
Belinda Jarrett
Episodes: 589842; 11641175

Parents: Margot Dean (deceased) & Les Bagley
Siblings: Blake Dean; Roxanne Miller (half-sister)

Marital Status: Unnamed husband
Occupation: Student; Waitress

Karen arrived in Summer Bay with her brother Blake, looking for Ailsa, who had been in prison with their late mother Margot. The siblings had been living with their uncle Alec since their mother died but it was clear he didn’t want them there and they were hoping Ailsa would take them in. They went to the Stewart house and introduced themselves to her husband Alf. Ailsa was willing but Alf was dead against the idea and was shocked when Alec turned up with Blake and Karen’s things, happy to have them off his hands. Alf wanted to find a foster home for them so Blake prepared to run away to a refuge in the city but Karen refused to get on the bus with him. Alf relented and let them stay.

The pair befriended Sophie and Sally, joining them in collecting cans for recycling and a game of cricket, during which they managed to break Don Fisher’s windscreen. Karen, Blake and Sophie offered to clean Don’s house to make up for it, only to accidentally turn on a sprinkler which soaked the living room through an open window. Karen and Blake started at Summer Bay High: Although Blake was older, they were in the same class because he was repeating a year. Karen had an early run-in with Donald Fisher when she queried the date he gave for the abolition of slavery. Don tried to put her on detention but relented when Grant Mitchell helped him realise Karen had been referring to the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Karen realised Blake and Sophie were attracted to each other and pulled out of a cinema trip so they could have time alone.

Karen developed a crush on older boy Steven Matheson, asking him to teach her to surf and writing him a love letter. Steven initially dismissed the letter, thinking it was from Marilyn, but let Karen down gently when he realised the truth. Blake and Sophie set Karen up with classmate Gary but Karen objected to them trying to organise her life and she and Gary turned up for a double date in outrageous clothes to teach them a lesson. Karen and Blake teased Alf when he failed a driving test after losing his license but felt bad when he was embarrassed about it.

She and her classmates had a number of serious run-ins with old-fashioned disciplinarian Alan Stone, who made a mistake marking Karen’s multiple choice maths test, although he eventually owned up to it. Stone accused Blake of cheating when Karen helped him with his homework, using it as an excuse to cane him. Karen had another run-in with Stone when Alf refused to serve him in the store after he came in drunk. He grabbed Karen in class while bullying her over a question she couldn’t do, causing Blake to push him over. Stone was ultimately transferred to another school.

Karen, Blake and Sophie decided to make lamingtons and sell them in order to pay for a school trip but ended up with so many orders they would have to bake for thirty hours. Their attempts degenerated into a food fight and Ailsa and Grant ended up helping them make the cakes in the Diner during the night. Karen reluctantly covered for Blake and Sophie when they sneaked off alone together on the trip but was soon caught out by Grant. Karen challenged Blake over his belief that the stress of him being in trouble with the police caused their mother’s cancer and eventually confided in Sophie, Alf and Ailsa about him.

The next target of Karen’s affections was Haydn Ross, who turned down her attempt to invite him to the movies with her, Blake and Sophie. He later apologised and joined in with a beach clean she organised. She convinced him to have dinner with her in a double date with Blake and Sophie but felt it ended in disaster when Haydn spilt popcorn over her. Haydn told her he’d had a good time and kissed her. Ultimately though, she was again left bereft when she caught him kissing Sophie, who was still dating Blake, and he told her he only saw her as a friend. Karen accidentally lent slip to Blake what had happened but agreed to stay friends with Sophie and tried to navigate the resulting fallout between Blake and Haydn. The two boys challenged each other to a bike race but ended up making their peace and calling the race off. Sophie and Karen tried to get them to compete anyway to see who won. Blake and Haydn paid them back by sending Sophie and Karen to the finish line while they went for a swim and a milkshake, prompting the girls to spray them with the shakes when they found out.

Karen was uncomfortable when Blake took a liking to Rachel Webb, whose brother Josh was a local trouble maker. The teens got caught up in a drug raid at a party Rachel invited them to and Karen convinced Blake to tell the police Josh had offered him drugs. She reluctantly covered for Blake when he carried on seeing Rachel. Karen objected to the school cutting down a tree to make room for a new library and she, Blake, Sophie and Haydn chained themselves to the tree until Don agreed to build the library elsewhere provided the students help raise the added expense of $10,000. Karen and Blake made plans to get a raffle going and Don anonymously gave them the $700 needed to pay for tickets to the Gold Coast as a prize. They agreed to let Adam print the tickets, although he struggled to number them properly, and then had to deal with Josh stealing the raffle money.

Karen was upset that no boys were interested in her in comparison to Sophie, so Sophie offered to give her a makeover and take her out to a disco. They got chatting to two guys, Wayne and Sean, but Karen’s confidence received a further knock when the boys invited Sophie out but considered her boring. Sophie tried to set Karen up with Mark, a friend of Blake’s, but even though Mark liked her, Karen felt he was only dating her because Sophie told him to. She went off with two local creeps, Colin and Graham but soon felt uncomfortable in their presence. She tried to steal their car to get away and crashed into a tree, with Michael having to smooth things over. Sophie convinced her that Mark actually was interested in her.

She and Sophie set up a dogwalking business but one of their first clients was Tiny, a large Great Dane. Haydn offered to look after him but managed to let him get loose, whereupon he chewed up one of the surf club’s surf skis. They eventually found him in the pantry at the Fletcher house and had to give up the business. Karen and Blake arranged to go on a camping trip with Alf and Ailsa to celebrate the latter’s anniversary, only realising halfway through that none of them wanted to be there. They later took part in a swim relay against Yabbie Creek alongside Sophie, with Haydn replacing Mark on their team after he had to leave the school.

Karen was bewildered when town bad boy Morris “Revhead” Gibson chatted her up after the swim meet but accepted a milkshake from him. Given that Revhead and his gang had once assaulted Roo, there was no chance of Alf accepting him and he made his feelings known to Karen. She decided to be rude to Revhead so he’d leave her alone but he wasn’t put off and she softened towards him when he talked about his mum dying. She supported him when his dad died as well and met him on the beach where they kissed. She skipped school to spend time with him and was convinced to smoke dope. Sophie and Blake took her to task and she admitted she didn’t like it anyway but she carried on seeing Revhead, lying about studying with Sophie to spend the evening at his house. Alf grounded her when he found out but she sneaked out of the house to see Revhead while Ailsa was taking Duncan to the doctor, only to be caught with him by Alf.

Revhead decided to leave town, feeling no-one would give him a chance. Karen lost her virginity with him and apparently convinced him to let her go with him, but when she arrived at the house with her things, she found Revhead gone, leaving a note for her. Although she accepted it was over, she made it clear to Ailsa she was only staying with the Stewarts because she had nowhere else to go. Ailsa hit Karen during an argument prompting Karen to ask Ailsa to treat her the same as Blake to make up for it. To test the new arrangement, Karen asked to go to an all-night party that Donna McCauley, a girl with a bad reputation, was having while her parents were away. When Ailsa refused, Karen saw it as evidence she couldn’t trust her. Sophie and Blake were concerned about how hard she had become, with Karen offering to lie that Kenny Gibbs, who had been giving Blake a hard time, had assaulted her and then smashing Kenny’s headlight.

When Tracey Turner came to stay with the Rosses, Karen befriended her despite the feud between her and Sophie. Worried by Sophie’s repeated insistence that she was going to pay Tracey back, Karen helped Tracey by planting cigarettes in Sophie’s bag to make it look like she was smoking. After Sophie exposed Tracey’s two-faced nature and Tracey insisted on a new foster home, Karen suggested they could still be friends and Tracey made it clear she’d just been using Karen to get one over on Sophie.

Karen next developed a crush on Adam Cameron after they played pool together and convinced him to give her sail surfing lessons. She tricked him into taking her to the drive-in by claiming Sophie and some other girls were going with them. In fact, only Sophie came, then left them alone so Karen could kiss him. However, Adam wasn’t interested and her family disapproved of the age gap. His unsuitability paled however when Revhead returned, now on the run from the police for breaking into a chemist’s and hiding out at his old family home after getting Karen to check it was empty. He and Karen resumed their relationship and she provided him with food and stole money from the store for him. Blake found out and called the police but Revhead was released on bail. Alf locked Karen in her room to stop her seeing him, prompting Revhead to report him for kidnapping. Nick had to tell Alf that Karen was old enough to leave and she promptly moved in with Revhead.

Revhead decided they needed money to leave town and to burgle local houses for cash and jewellery. He got Karen to watch Don’s house to see when there was no-one home, after which they burgled it together. They broke into the store after hours to rob it, but Alf came back and Revhead knocked him unconscious, refusing to let Karen call an ambulance. He convinced Karen to move back in with the Stewarts while he went to stay with a friend in Yabbie Creek, saying they’d leave together when things settled down. Karen played innocent when the robbery was discovered, denying everything when questioned by Nick, with Alf and Ailsa giving her the benefit of the doubt and hoping she had finally seen through Revhead.

Karen stole Blake and Haydn’s car, intending to meet Revhead and use it to get out of the area. Adam saw her driving erratically and got in the car with her to try and get her to stop. Instead, she drove through a Stop sign after being distracted by roadworks and hit a car being driven by David Croft, Sophie’s new boyfriend. David was declared dead at the scene and Adam was knocked out, while Karen escaped serious injury and claimed Adam had been driving, explaining away the bag of her clothes in the car by saying Adam had taken her to pick up her things from Revhead’s. Revhead abandoned her when he learned the truth and Adam only agreed to keep quiet so she’d have time to turn herself in. However, when Revhead was picked up by the police, he was quick to tell them about Karen. She was arrested and remanded in custody until sentencing, where she was given two years in a remand centre. Ailsa and Blake continued to visit her, but Ailsa was disturbed by her lack of remorse.

Karen was released for good behaviour around 18 months later. Alf was about to go on a trip to New York to see Roo but was reluctant to leave Ailsa to handle Karen on her own. Karen convinced him to go but told Blake she was only there for him and tried to get him to come to the city with her. Blake refused and Karen agreed to stay in Summer Bay. During her absence, Blake had started dating Finlay Roberts and discovered they had a half-sister, Roxanne Miller, but Karen showed little interest in getting to know them.

Ailsa gave Karen a job at the Diner but she turned up late, then spent most of her shift hanging out with Dougie, a bad boy type she had met up with, who she gave a free coffee. When Ailsa sent her to do the laundry, she used some of the money to pay for make-up. She faked a headache at work to get sent home then invited Dougie back to the house, where Ailsa caught them making out. She went on a night out to a club with Blake, Fin, Damian and Sarah, where she flirted with a guy and got into a fight with his girlfriend. Blake separated them and got punched by the boyfriend for his troubles. Bobby sacked her from the Diner after she got into a food fight with Fin and she showed no remorse when she accidentally broke Ailsa’s vase. Blake got her to apologise but she then stole the housekeeping and money from Roxy’s bag and fled to the city. Blake tracked her down and agreed to move there to keep an eye on her.

Despite Karen’s time in Summer Bay ending on a sour note, Ailsa would often visit her and Blake in the city for a time afterwards. When Blake returned to Summer Bay in 2002, he revealed Karen had sorted herself out and was now married to an accountant.