Emmerdale viewers in tears as Eric cruelly breaks up with Brenda for heartbreaking reason

Emmerdale fans were left devastated following the latest episode as Eric Pollard (played by Chris Chittell) delivered a cruel and low blow when he broke up with his girlfriend Brenda Walker (Lesley Dunlop).

The heartbreaking scenes, which were a far cry from the exciting news that Torvill and Dean are appearing in the Dales for a special Christmas episode, were particularly hard for viewers as they knew the truth – that Eric was only making the decision to end his relationship as a result of discovering he had Parkinson's disease.

It was also a particularly difficult storyline for Eric in the lead-up to that moment, as opting to keep his hospital visits and tests secret from his loved ones, only long-time village pal Mandy Dingle (Lisa Riley) was able to give him support.

And after a tough day that saw him break down in tears upon leaving his hospital appointment, Eric reacted to his health news, a storyline that could ultimately lead to David Metcalfe's departure from the village, by deciding to shut things down with Brenda once and for all.

Ignoring Brenda's pleas and determined to make sure they couldn't come back from the moment, Eric struck a nerve when he told his partner that he didn't want to be with her anymore.

The character declared that he'd never care for Brenda as much as he had for his last wife Val Lambert (Charlie Hardwick), and even said that he had a stronger connection with late girlfriend Faith Dingle (Sally Dexter).

In painful final scenes, which saw poor Brenda sobbing her eyes out, Eric then said that he didn't know if he'd ever actually loved her at all.

In a move to "save" Brenda from having to face his illness with him, his final comments seemed to have put the nail in the coffin of their relationship.

Fans took to Twitter to discuss Eric's behaviour, as many couldn't believe how "cruel" the shop owner could be.

"Eric always was a nasty piece of work. His behaviour is no surprise #Emmerdale," one person wrote.

"So Eric, you don't want to be a 'burden' to Brenda so you think being downright cruel to her is better? #emmerdale" another viewer shared.

A third fan said: "Jacob knows And the way Eric broke up with Brenda was HARSH Great start to Eric’s storyline #Emmerdale."

While a fourth person raged: "No Eric just tell her the truth!!! No need to just be nasty as a way to avoid telling her and get her out your life! Tell her the truth!!!!!! Grrrrrr at the TV reaction!!!! #emmerdale."

"Ohhh no Eric don’t say that! #Emmerdale" a fifth said, followed by: "Brutal eric #Emmerdale Eric stop it right now! You will end up on you’re own.

"You’re pushing people away. You need these people. #Emmerdale."

While fans will have to wait and see if Eric eventually relents and tells the rest of the family, the latest episode showed that Jacob Gallagher has already found out.

While on the phone to Victoria Barton during work at the doctor's surgery, Jacob came across a medical letter as he attempted to file all the documents.

Instantly spotting his grandfather's name, a horrified Jacob couldn't resist reading the entire thing and discovered the devastating truth about his illness. The 20 year old could tell his dad the truth of the situation next, before Mandy even gets a chance.

Emmerdale continues weekdays at 7.30pm on ITV

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