Declan Napier James Sorensen, Erin Mullally
Declan Napier 2007-2011
Lives: 22 Ramsay Street
Lived: Napier house, 24, 26, 32 Ramsay Street
Parents: Rebecca Napier and Richard Aaronow
Marital Status: Bridget Parker (2009; died)
Family Tree: Napier
Occupation: Student, Lassiter's Hotel Staff
Sarcastic teenager Declan Napier was raised by single mother Rebecca, who did her best to look after him, but often found herself struggling to keep up with the bills. As a consequence, Declan turned to petty crime to help his mum, though she was left believing that the money came from a paper round and he was spending all of his spare time studying with friends. As he retreated to an old squat one day, Declan found eight-year-old runaway Mickey Gannon and his dog, Jake, hiding there. Mickey explained that he was in trouble with the police for messing about in a removal van and causing a car accident, and went on to explain about his own upbringing and how he and his mum had moved around a lot and he had few friends. Able to relate to this, Declan took Mickey under his wing, talking him out of going home, but bringing him food.
The following day, Mickey was sitting outside some shops waiting for Declan when businessman Simon Horwill approached him. An upset Mickey talked about being lost and far from home, so Simon put down his briefcase and went into the shop to try and find someone to give them a lift back to Ramsay Street. At the same moment, Declan came out of the shop and snatched the case, before he and Mickey ran off with it. Simon spotted them, but hurt his ankle as he tried to give chase. He then contacted the police, but Declan and Mickey were long gone, back at the squat, where Mickey was starting to talk about wanting to go home. When Mickey found a letter from his dad Ned, he struggled to read it and turned to Declan for help. At first, Declan told Mickey that he couldn’t go home, but then softened and explained that the letter said that Ned loved him and he could go back to Ramsay Street whenever he wanted. Declan offered to take Mickey home the following day, but as they walked through the suburbs, Dec spotted an opportunity to make some quick cash when he saw a house with an open window and a laptop sitting inside.
Lying that the house, and the laptop, belonged to his friend Vinnie, who was in the city for an interview and had forgotten to take it, Mickey suggested that he could climb in through the open window to retrieve the computer. But disaster struck as the window slammed and locked behind the young boy and the burglar alarm started to go off. Declan was forced to break a window to get Mickey out, but in the process, Jake cut his paw. Declan then had to take them both home with him - he told Mickey to hide, while he lied to his mum that the dog was a stray who'd been injured and had followed him home. Rebecca called for a vet, but when Mickey's uncle, vet Steve and his daughter Bridget turned up, they soon recognised Jake and contacted the police. Declan was then forced to call Mickey out of hiding and Rebecca was appalled to find out what her son had been up to all this time.
With Declan pleading for his mum's forgiveness, their relationship had just got back to normal when it was delivered another blow. Declan spotted a strange man hanging around outside their house, but was shocked to learn that it was Oliver, his older brother, who Rebecca had given us as a baby. Declan was furious at being kept in the dark, but, as he was in the process of burning a pile of newspaper clippings that Rebecca had kept about her other son, he noticed that his new-found brother was incredibly rich, following the deaths of Pamela and Clifford, his adoptive parents. Declan went to meet Oliver at Lassiter's, one of the hotels that he was in charge of, and started complaining about how he had a school formal coming up, but had nothing to wear. Oliver was quick to lend him some money, and Declan suddenly saw the advantage of having a sibling, though when Rebecca found out, as they had lunch with Oliver, his girlfriend Elle Robinson and her father, and an old flame of Rebecca's, Paul to celebrate Declan's 17th birthday, she told him that he'd have to pay back every cent. When Declan protested, it was suggested that he could get a part-time job at the hotel, which he grudgingly agreed to, but it didn't stop Oliver's generosity, as, desperate to impress his brother, he gave Declan a car for his birthday. Rebecca again warned that it was too much, and Oliver agreed to take it back, though later told Declan that he could keep it, as long as it stayed locked up in the garage until he'd passed his test - and Rebecca was not to find out.
Meanwhile, with Oliver back on the scene, issues surrounding his and Declan's father, Richard Aaronow, started to surface. Elle had tracked the man down, thinking that Oliver deserved the chance to get to know his dad, unaware that Richard had raped Rebecca, resulting in Declan's conception. Though he knew his father's name, and the fact Richard had done something to make Rebecca hate him, Declan didn't know the truth and accepted his mum's policy of simply never mentioning the man. But when Rebecca found out that Richard was in the area, she started making plans to flee - something she and Declan had been forced to do many times in the past - but Paul, who had fallen for Rebecca all over again, asked her to stay and to move in with him and Elle. Though Declan was slightly uncomfortable around Paul, he was glad not to have to move too far this time, but he was angry to learn that Oliver had been in touch with Richard. After stealing the number from Oliver's phone, Declan arranged his own meeting with Richard, only to punch him in the face. Oliver stopped Declan from further violence, but Richard was determined to get things out in the open and told Declan about the rape, claiming that Rebecca had made the whole thing up. Declan immediately sided with his mum but, following the death of Alan Napier, Rebecca's estranged father, Declan went to see Richard and they arranged a fishing trip.
Once at the river, Declan's true motives became clear as he went to attack Richard with an oar, but in the tussle, Richard ended up falling into the water. Declan failed to save him and instead went back to the shore, only to be confronted by Richard, who had swum to safety and was about to grab Declan when Paul, Rebecca and Oliver arrived. The incident made Oliver realise that his mum had been telling the truth, whilst also pushing Rebecca into reporting what Richard had done to her all those years ago. But, at the police station, they were surprised to see Richard, who was pressing assault charges against his younger son, though he was urged to reconsider this once Rebecca had made her own statement. Declan, meanwhile, was consumed with guilt over what had happened at the river, and admitted to Paul that he was worried that his actions made him no better than Richard. When Paul then took Rebecca and Declan away to the country for a few days, Richard followed and was knocked unconscious during a confrontation with Rebecca. At the hospital, they were all shocked to learn that Richard was in end stage kidney failure and would need a transplant or he wouldn't live for longer than a few weeks. When Declan then overheard Richard telling Rebecca that he would never admit to what he'd done to her, Declan decided that his father should be around to face court and announced that he was going to donate a kidney. Rebecca refused to give her permission, so Oliver stepped in and, although the operation was a success, it left Richard very ill, so Rebecca decided to wait a few months, until he was well enough, before pursuing her civil case against him.
Having started at Erinsborough High, Declan quickly made friends with the other teens from Ramsay Street, but struggled with the hostility from Bridget, who was still furious with him for leading her young cousin, Mickey, astray. Though Bridget softened on hearing about Declan's difficult upbringing, she still resented his attempts to defend her as she faced bullying from Justin Hunter following her attempts to join the football team. During a school trip to a rockclimbing wall, Bridget's frustrations with Declan finally spilled over and she let the rope slip from her hands as he came down, causing him to plummet to the ground. Though Declan wasn't badly hurt, Bridget found herself with a week of detentions after her mum, Miranda was called in, and it emerged that she had forged her signature on the permission slip. The incident did succeed in bringing Declan and Bridget closer and he managed to impress her with his secret sports car, and the pair found themselves enjoying secret night-time joy rides around the neighbourhood. This situation ended badly when the pair were challenged to a drag race by Justin and his brothers, only for the police to catch them. Though they went after the Hunters, they later turned up to speak to Declan and Didge, leaving him facing prosecution and the young couple banned from seeing each other.
They managed to meet up, after communicating by text message, but only so that Bridget could tell Declan that she didn't want to see him again. As she walked home in tears, she stumbled into the road and was hit by a car - which just so happened to be Declan's sports car, which Oliver was selling after the drag racing, and had loaned to the Kennedys from number 28 for a test drive. When Mickey spotted the car driving away and reported back to his dad, Declan immediately became prime suspect and, as he went to the hospital to try and see a seriously ill Bridget, he was arrested. Declan managed to give the police the slip and hid out behind Lassiter's. Whilst there, he was found by Nick Thompson. Nick and his girlfriend, Laura had been tracked down by Paul, who had started having terrifying flashbacks of an incident in his past, and believed that he had murdered Laura's brother, Gus. Though nobody believed he was capable of it, Nick and Laura were determined to make him pay and having learnt about Oliver's wealth, Nick decided to kidnap Declan, taking him back to the hotel, claiming that he was helping him to hide from the police. As the hours went by, Declan came to realise that he wasn't completely free to leave, and a video of him alseep on the couch had been sent to Rebecca and Oliver, along with a demand for money. It didn't take long for Paul to work out who had Declan but at the hotel, Laura knocked Paul out with a vase, before she and Nick took Declan to an old deserted caravan in the bush. Declan then tried to talk Laura into releasing him, realising that she wasn't as comfortable with the whole thing as Nick, but she refused. Declan then managed to get hold of a knife and, working through the night, managed to cut his ropes, but was caught trying to escape. Nick then decided that the time had come to arrange the money hand-over and called Oliver, telling him to meet at the Frances River turn-off on the Wilby Highway at 1.30, not realising that the police were busy tracing the call.
Once Nick realised that the police were closing in, he fled, with Laura and Declan but, as his back was turned, the guilt finally got to Laura and she untied Declan, allowing him to escape. While Nick and Laura were captured by the police, having gone to try and collect the money, Declan was left lost and alone in the bush. Having injured his leg, he finally collapsed from exhaustion, but was found by Rebecca, Paul and Oliver, who continued the search after dark, even as the police were giving up. At the hospital, Declan was given a clean bill of health, but Rebecca insisted on booking an appointment with Dr Jeremy Levi in the psychiatric department. Though Declan insisted that he was fine, Rebecca found him asleep on the couch, suffering terrible nightmares, and insisted that they go to the hospital, where Declan refused to talk to Dr Levi. As he became more withdrawn, refusing to go on a family outing, Oliver agreed to speak to him, and told him to find a way to release his aggression. When Declan then went missing, Oliver quickly realised where he was, and tracked him down at the caravan, just in time to stop him setting light to it. The brothers ended up fighting, and Declan broke down and admitted that he was starting to believe that he was bad, just like their father. Oliver convinced him that this wasn't the case, and managed to find a new outlet for Declan's aggression by letting him take it out on a punching bag. Meanwhile, Declan was determined to patch things up with Didge, who was now out of hospital, but paralysed down the left-hand side of her body. When Oliver said that he'd seen Didge heading over to number 30 for a swim, Declan went to make his peace, only to find her struggling in the water. He leapt in to save her and, caught up in the moment, leaned in for a kiss, only for Didge to stop him and point out that saving her life didn't mean that he was now her boyfriend.
Meanwhile, back at school, Declan found himself in a fight with Zeke Kinski, whose stepmum, Susan had been behind the wheel of the car that hit Didge. As Rebecca was called in, Declan felt that he'd let her down once too often, and decided to run away. As he hailed a taxi to the train station, he was surprised to find that the driver was neighbour Frazer Yeats, who'd just taken up the job, and, moments after dropping Declan off, he called Oliver. Before long, Paul, Rebecca and Oliver were at the station, just in time to see the train to Sydney leave, only to spot Declan still sitting on the station. Rebecca chatted to him and convinced him that he wasn't going to turn out like his dad and she wasn't disappointed in him. Later, she took him to the house where he'd spent the first few years of his life, reminding him of the good times and they decided to make a fresh start and move back in with Paul. With his new positive frame of mind, Declan went and asked Didge out on a date, and she accepted. However, during their night out at the cinema, Declan grew increasingly paranoid about Didge's walking frame and even attacked a couple of guys who he thought were staring at them. Though slightly worried that Declan hadn't even tried to kiss her, Didge arranged for them to have a picnic, only to spot Declan walking away after she fell over as she tried to set up the food and blanket. Disgusted with himself, Declan admitted to Rebecca that he hated the way he was feeling, but couldn't seem to ignore Didge's disability, while Didge told him that she'd had enough and didn't want to see him again.
Later seeing her hanging out with another boy, Josh Taylor, on numerous occasions, Declan angrily refused to talk to Bridget and was hurt to stumble upon them kissing. Things were not helped when his romantic gesture of giving her a CD of “sorry songs” was rejected, admitting to classmate Ringo that he could not just move on. Again confronting Bridget he kissed her and told her to “drop” Josh, left upset as she again turned him away, though remained adamant that he would get through to her.
With the invitation to attend an illegal rave party with the gang from school and the alibi of an all-night movie marathon (dampened slightly by Josh attending with Bridget), Declan confessed that he liked Bridget as more than a friend, only for him to mishear him over the blaring music. When he was then caught by Elle, the warehouse roof collapsed just as Declan was hurrying to save Bridget from a falling support beam. Pulling Josh to safety things were not over as another beam came down on him and Bridget, trapping them together. As Declan comforted her and a secondary collapse prevented the rescue team from getting any closer, Declan made it clear that he was fine with her disability; admitting their more-than-platonic feelings for each other the pair leaned in to kiss, interrupted by rescue workers and returned to their agitated parents.
With Bridget and Josh apparently stable, Declan was shocked to learn that Richard had left his care facility with his whereabouts unknown. As the receptionist eventually told that he was being treated at Erinsborough Hospital in his final days, Oliver and a furious Declan tracked him down there. Listening as Richard spoke of regret over the hurt he had caused, to both the boys and Rebecca, he quietly passed away soon after. With Declan stubbornly refusing to go to the funeral, Oliver and Zeke soon managed to talk him into it. Unable to listen as the minister spoke of how praised Richard was, however, he ran out of the chapel, coming clean to Rebecca about how he just wanted it to be over. Getting through the rest of the service, he was then able to formally say goodbye to Richard before the burial, speaking of how he would longer be scared at the thought of him.
As Josh and Bridget soon broke up when Josh told her to work out her feelings for Declan, Bridget attacked Declan when she received an anonymous Valentine. Telling him that too much weirdness had happened for them to get together now, she was forced to swallow her words when it emerged that he had not sent the card. When classmate Rachel then went missing after the fallout of her affair with the kids’ teacher, the gang soon tracked her down where she made an angry outburst at them all for wrapping her in cotton wool. It was during this rant that she called Declan a hopeless loser for “following” Didge around when she was not interested, though the pair soon made up back at school when Declan defended her to Justin’s bullying.
Things looked grim when Steve, Declan’s football coach and “mentor,” was found guilty of murdering Chris Knight, a fellow team member. Though Declan, jealous of Chris dating Bridget, was cleared as a suspect he soon worked out that Steve was covering for Bridget. Hitting him away in defence, it was she who had given Chris the injuries that killed him. There was more scandal to come as it emerged that Paul had been having a long-time affair, leaving Rebecca heartbroken, and she and a furious Declan moved next door. With Bridget going through an awful transition as it looked like her family may be torn apart, Declan made it known that he was not going anywhere; she later thanked him for it as they got together at a kissing booth fundraiser.
After a few blissful weeks for the pair, their first major obstacle occurred with the return of Josh. Deeply set on getting Bridget back, he continually pestered Declan and even gatecrashed his 18th birthday party. Though it was not too scarring, the meddling went far enough when Declan was pressured into lying that he and Bridget were sleeping together just to boost his image. With Bridget’s feelings already greatly hurt, she was ashamed to catch the boys battling it out in wheelchair basketball with her as the prize, and told Declan that she wanted a break to figure things out.
With his driving test passed and intense soccer training underway, Declan had plenty on his mind when Bridget, coming home from Sydney, asked that he not collect her from the airport. Fearful that she was going to dump him, Declan left the game right before kick-off and asked Bridget to say what she needed to. Bridget then put his assumptions to rest by telling him that she was ready to take things further, and they began having sex.
As the final of the football league arrived, Declan made a risky move when he scored the winning goal by himself rather than include his team-mates. While this did not sit well with Ringo, who was also playing, it was set aside when Nathan Black of the AFL offered both boys a place on his team. Declan’s dreams were quickly derailed, however, when Bridget told him that she was pregnant. Leaving her behind, he angrily took off for a drive and was left to spend the night in jail, pulled over for running a stop sign. Coming home to an outraged Rebecca - whom Bridget had shared her news with - he pushed her away too and later fell into the arms of Sharni, a football groupie. Encouraged by everyone to make things right, Declan told Bridget that he wanted to be with her whatever became of the pregnancy and things looked to be back on track.
Nonetheless, when Bridget found out from Sharni and not Declan that he had cheated, things were back to square one when the Parkers and his friends completely turned on Declan. After he escaped in his car again, convinced that Bridget was better off, things were put in reverse when he learned that she was getting an abortion. Reaching the clinic just in time, Declan managed to talk Bridget (and their parents) around, insisting that he could be a father and promised never to leave her again.
After the initial controversy of a teen pregnancy, and warnings of such publicity damaging his football career, the Parkers allowed Declan him to move in with them. Things were fine until Bridget ran away from home, sick of being smothered by everyone. Though she soon returned, more trouble lay ahead on a school trip when Declan started fighting with Zeke, now befriended by Justin and troublemaker Kyle. When Principal Simpson then decided that a rafting race would settle things, Zeke and the others thought up a plan to beat Declan and his team. Approaching some rapids in the river, the boys purposely stopped Declan’s raft from going ahead to make it capsize. This failed when it was their own that tipped over, and Bridget - in Zeke’s raft - went missing. Declan’s worst fears were put to rest, however, when she and the baby were found with no harm done.
• Declan turned 17 on 8th August 2007
• Declan turned 18 on 6th August 2008
• James Sorensen played Declan from 2007 until early 2010, with Erin Mullally taking over from 2010-2011, for Declan's final year on screen
Episode 5263: Declan's Arrival
Biography by Brendan