|Appeared in||8 episodes|
Claire Ripley (formerly Claire Ashworth) was a former hairdresser in Sandbrook and wife of Lee Ashworth, the man Alec Hardy strongly suspected was responsible for the Sandbrook kidnappings and murders.
She originally provided her husband an alibi for the night of the kidnapping, saying he was home at night. However, she was in fact at a friend's house, which she later admitted to Alec Hardy. Hardy convinced Claire to tell the truth by telling her that it would help secure a conviction, keeping her safe.
When Lee was eventually set free, Hardy took care of her in an unofficial witness protection program, hiding her in a house in Broadchurch and moving to the town himself to look after her. However, when she began getting calls from an unknown number, Claire became worried for her safety, fearing Lee had come back for her. In fact, Lee had returned and had come to Broadchurch to find his wife. Hardy organised for a largely friendless Ellie Miller to look after Claire, but admitted to her that he actually wanted Lee to find Claire so he could put them together and record the conversation, potentially providing more evidence to help him solve the Sandbrook case. However, when this meeting did occur, the perimeter of the venue, Ellie's house, had not been secured as well as Hardy thought, with Beth Latimer confronting Ellie outside the front door providing the ideal opportunity for Lee to escape with his wife in tow. Fortunately, Hardy found Claire safe at her home, but Lee began effectively stalking her after this incident.
Claire changed her story again, claiming that she awoke during the night finding her husband cleaning the entire house and believed he'd drugged her. Neither Hardy or Ellie believed this version of events and began to suspect that Claire may not be as innocent as she claimed. It was also revealed that the pendant Pippa Gillespie owned was in fact her's, as Ellie saw a photograph of her wearing it. Claire later burnt it to prevent it from being used against her. Hardy, in an attempt to put pressure on Claire, kicked her out of the house after learning she had met with Lee and slept with him. He also revealed to Lee that Claire had been pregnant, but had an abortion after Lee was arrested, causing Lee violently confront Claire, leading to a fight. It was eventually revealed that Claire was the one who stole Pippa's pendant from the car; she returns it to Hardy before the conclusion of Joe Miller's trial, as she has grown tired keeping secrets. Hardy arrests her and he and Ellie question Claire, who finally reveals the truth; she was involved in Pippa and Lisa's deaths. She came home the night they went missing to tell Lee she was pregnant, only to discover Pippa crying on the stairs and Ricky Gillespie and Lee standing over Lisa's body. Claire was horrified when she discovered that Ricky had not only murdered his own niece and pinned the blame on Lee, but that her husband had also slept with Lisa.
Despite Lee's protests, Claire gave Pippa some whisky Ricky had given her to make her sleep. Beforehand, she comforted Pippa, but learned that she'd heard Lee and Lisa having sex and believed Ricky's version of events; that Lee was the one who's hurt her cousin. To protect Lee, Claire convinced him to kill Pippa whilst she slept and dispose of the body. She told Ricky that Pippa had had a reaction to whisky and they'd been unable to save her. It is unknown what happened to Claire after her confession, but she would presumably have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and obstructing the course of justice, and incarcerated whilst waiting for her trial to begin.