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For the character who's identity was stolen by Kerry Shepherd, see Laura Burns (Kerry's friend).

Laura Burns (born Kerry Shepherd) was a student who arrived in Hollyoaks in 2000 to study at Hollyoaks Community College. She was raised in a children's home after her father left before she was born, and her mother died not long after she was born. Tony Hutchinson was smitten with Laura, but Laura rejected his advances. Laura stole money from Tony and Finn's business, The Loft, to finance her first year of college, but ended up confessing to them out of guilt. She soon befriended Mandy Richardson, whom she became obsessed with.

Laura successfully managed to split Mandy from her boyfriend, Luke Morgan, and began to take enjoyment in Mandy's life going wrong, especially when Mandy's brother, Lewis Richardson, committed suicide in October 2001 and Laura was left to fill the gap in the Cunningham family after Mandy became estranged from her mother, Helen Cunningham - even going as far as to scatter Lewis's ashes with Helen.

Laura's brother, Brendan arrived in the village and caused confusion when he referred to Laura as "Kerry", and Laura pretended not to recognise him. Brendan revealed that Laura's real name was "Kerry Shepherd", and she had stolen the identity of her deceased best friend. Laura tried to get away and booked tickets for herself and Mandy to move to Cape Town in South Africa, but a suspicious Mandy refused to go. Laura smashed a glass bottle over Mandy's head and kept her prisoner in the flat. She attempted to poison herself and Mandy to kill them both. Mandy managed to escape into the bathroom and attempted to message Tony and Adam Morgan, but Laura caught her and destroyed Mandy's phone. Laura continued to poison Mandy, but Mandy managed to get hold of a paperweight and threw it of out the window, managing to get the attention of Tony, Adam and Max Cunningham who raced up to the flat. They called the police who arrested Laura. Laura ended up getting sectioned and was placed in a mental institution.

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