When he meets Lauren Branning, who is attending counselling for alcoholism for the first time, she notices his wedding ring. He is angered when she laughs in a group therapy session. Afterwards, he tells her that he was a chef and ran two restaurants in Manchester before alcohol ruined his career and marriage, though he and his wife are trying to mend their relationship. The next time they meet, Jake says he has split from his wife, Sadie Young. Lauren starts leaning on Jake for support, because he understands her addiction when her family and friends do not. Jake and Lauren start an affair. Whilst arguing with Sadie, it is revealed that years before, he and Sadie accidentally hit a girl with their car and killed her while they were arguing many years before. Jake gets a job at Ian Beale's restaurant, Scarlett's, and continues his affair with Lauren behind Sadie's back. When Sadie discovers their affair, she leaves Walford with Bella. Unknown to Jane Beale, Jake is later discovered by her in their restaurant. Ian invites him to sleep on his sofa, and asks Alfie Moon if he would give Jake a job at his burger van. Alfie agrees, and Jake and Aleks Shirovs rent a flat.
The burger van is later taken away, leaving Jake unemployed again. He seeks employment at the café, and also designs Lucy Beale a website for her new business, causing slight upset with her partner, Lauren. It's hinted that both Jake and Lucy are having a fling as both of them are seen constantly checking their phone and having occasional small talk. It's also implied when Lucy is in a rush to meet her mystery man for a date and Jake was preparing a meal whilst looking out his window, but this is disproved when it's revealed, in a conversation with Aleks, that he has actually been getting in contact with Sadie, who refused to attend his meal last minute, as she hasn't forgiven him. He now works in Ian and Jane's new restaurant, where he sees Lee Carter and Lucy having a heart to heart moment. Jake is constantly seen watching both Lucy and Lauren around the square when they pass him, causing Aleks to jokingly taunt him claiming Jake has an obsession with them. Lucy is later killed in mysterious circumstances and when Lauren investigates her death, she discovers the police have already questioned Jake. It is revealed that Jake, under a different guise, sent an email to LB Lettings asking to meet Lauren, which was later read by Lucy. Lucy met with an intoxicated Jake on Walford Common, with Jake claiming that she sent him home in a taxi and he did not see her again. Lauren does not believe his claims, however, and thinks that he killed Lucy. He tries to convince her he is telling the truth but becomes forceful with her. After their confrontation, Lauren visits the police. Jake is later arrested after Lucy's blood and one of her earrings is found in his flat.
Jake is remanded in custody, and a date set for his trial. However, three months later, he is released on bail after new evidence emerges. Jake returns to Tina and Tosh's apartment and Lauren Branning visits him and she apologises for accusing of him of murder. He tells them he is leaving for good, so he can be a father to Bella. In February 2015, he returns in a flashback episode of the night Lucy Beale died to rule him out as her murderer.