Paul Hill's Life Is Rife With Triumph — And Tragedy

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Who Is Paul Hill? New Details On Irishman Wrongly Convicted Of Pub Bombings And Saoirse Kennedy Hill's Dad

He is a man whose life has been featured in blockbuster movies, but he's also overcome unspeakable tragedies. Most recently, he's had to bury his beloved daughter, Saoirse Kennedy Hill. Who is Paul Hill?

Let's look at what we know about this mysterious man, whose life has been filled with both triumph and tragedy. 

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1. He was one of the Guilford Four. 

The name The Guilford Four doesn't mean much outside of Ireland, but in fact, The Guilford Four were the subjects of one of the most gob-smacking criminal trials in modern Irish history. 

"Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson, known as the Guilford Four, were wrongfully convicted of the Guildford Pub bombings, which took place in 1974. Incredibly, Gerry Conlon’s father, Giuseppe, was also stitched up for the “crime” and died in jail. Hill was accused of being involved in the IRA bombings of pubs in Guildford and Woolwich. He was also accused of the murder of a British soldier, Brian Shaw," reported Irish Central. The outlet also reported that two years after The Guilford Four were convicted of the crimes they were accused of, the IRA took credit for them. However, it took another 15 years for the Guilford Four to be released from prison. 

Paul Hill was a member of the Guilford Four and the father of Saoirse Kennedy Hill. 

2. Thanks to Paul Hill's notoriety, Saoirse Kennedy Hill was nearly kidnapped. 

According to WCVB-TV, Paul Hill's notoriety was so great that his daughter, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, was nearly kidnapped when she was 10-years-old. And though she escaped her wannabe kidnappers, she was forever traumatized by the experience. 

"Saoirse Rosin Hill, daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill, was returning from playing tennis to the family's home in Hyannisport when two men drove up in a white van. As the girl walked by the van outside the family's six-acre waterfront compound, one man asked if she wanted a ride but she ran away, the source said. "Two white males, approximately 50-years-old according to the witness, were sitting in a white GMC van. As the girl walked by the van, the driver asked her if she needed a ride. The young girl responded, 'no,' and just did not feel right about the situation and ran home," Barnstable Police Department Sgt. Mark Mellyn said, according to the outlet.

Saoirse Kennedy Hill shared her struggles with depression. 

3. He met Courtney Kennedy when he was free on bail. 

In an interview for the Irish newspaper, The Independent, Paul Hill said that he met Courtney Kennedy when he was free on bail. He said that he wasn't impressed with the Kennedy name — he just loved her for who she was. 

"A lot of people think it’s very unnatural. Here I am from West Belfast and I am married to Robert Kennedy’s daughter. I don’t feel any of that at all. I really don’t. Partly because I am not phased by people, and they are just a normal family, but people tend to overlook that aspect of it because of tragedy,” he said to the outlet.

Paul Hill met Courtney Kennedy when he was free on bail. 

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4. Paul Hill's daughter struggled with depression when he divorced Courtney. 

According to AOL, after Paul Hill and Courtney Kennedy got divorced, Saoirse Kennedy Hill struggled with depression. And while she certainly had a problem with drug addiction in the past, she wasn't abusing — or even taking — drugs at the time of her death. 

"The source added that “...Saoirse had a very troubled, unstable childhood and life” before Courtney and her father Paul Hill divorced in 2006 and said, “This girl is very sweet and a very shy girl who has struggled a lot with depression since her early teens," reported the outlet.

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Saoirse Kennedy Hill was the only child of Paul Hill and Courtney Kennedy.

5. His life was the subject of a blockbuster Hollywood film. 

Paul Hill wrote a book called Stolen Years back when he was first released from prison. The book detailed his tough times behind bars. But, most infamously, Hill's life — and the lives of other members of the Guilford Four — were detailed in a blockbuster film, In The Name of the Father, which was released in 1993. The film, which starred Daniel Day-Lewis as Gerry Conlon, featured the actor John Lynch (Merlin, The Fall) playing Paul Hill. 

Saoirse Kennedy Hill's cause of death wasn't released by the family or the coroner. 

6. Paul Hill was hoping to find a facility to help his daughter deal with her depression. 

According to The Daily Mail, even though Paul Hill and Courtney Kennedy were divorced, it didn't mean that he was an absentee father. To the contrary: in the weeks before her death, Paul Hill was working with the Kennedy family to try to find an appropriate facility for his daughter to help deal with her depression. The outlet also reported that Saoirse had suffered from depression because of a sexual assault. 

"The Boston College Student, who was due to graduate in 2020, wrote movingly about her struggle with depression and mental illness in a candid article for her school paper in 2016.  She also described how she attempted to take her own life two weeks before her junior year began at the prestigious preparatory school, Deerfield Academy, claiming she 'totally lost it after someone I knew and loved broke serious sexual boundaries with me," reported the outlet.

Our thoughts are with the Kennedy and Hill families during this difficult time. 

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.

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