Tom Merrick is a fictional character from Emmerdale Farm. He served as a major antagonist in the series and was also among the oldest enemies of the show's former central protagonist Jack Sugden.
Tom Merrick was a family man who would support his children through thick and thin, although he was abusive towards wife Pat Sugden. In 1972, Tom began to have suspicions that his son, Jackie Merrick, was actually the son of Jack Sugden, due them sharing the names of "John Jacob" and blackmailed Jack. Tom returned to the village in December 1980 with friend Derek Warner and stole Christmas trees from Home Farm, knocking down Joe Sugden in the truck whilst making an escape. Tom managed to get off lightly however he burnt down a barn at NY Estates in 1981 to frame Jack as Pat had filed for divorce for Tom in order to marry Jack. Jack had a watertight alibi and Tom left the village.
In 1982, Tom returned and his suspicions about Jackie were confirmed by Pat. Tom assaulted Jack on numerous occasions whilst Jackie resented Jack and his mother. Tom decided to leave the village to work in Scotland, and managed to convince a determined Jackie to stay in the village. Tom showed his more caring side when his daughter Sandie fell pregnant aged 17. She didn't want to marry nor did she want an abortion. She heard Dolly Skilbeck talk about how putting her son up for adoption was the best thing she did at that time, and went to Scotland to live with Tom until the baby was born. She put the baby up for adoption, horrifying Pat.
Tom returned with Sandie and Derek Warner in March 1984. Derek convinced Tom to go poaching with him using explosives, however the pair were caught and received a custodial sentence in October 1984. Tom was released in February 1985 and Derek was released later that year. At this point, Tom had mellowed.
In August 1986, Pat was killed after driving her car off a ravine. Tom returned for her funeral in September 1986 and almost had a fight with Jack. He returned for Jackie's wedding in 1988 however not for Jackie's funeral in 1989 after he died in a shooting accident.