One of the Guildford Four, wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years, Paul Hill married Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s daughter, Courtney, they had one child
Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the daughter of a member of the Guildford Four, Paul Hill and Courtney Kennedy, daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, died at the Kennedy Compound, in Hyannis, Cape Cod.
Yet another tragedy to befall the Massachusetts political dynasty and to her father, a man who served 15 years in prison for crimes he did not commit – the Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombing of two pubs and the murder of a British soldier.
The Guildford Four
Paul Hill was born in Belfast in 1954. He was school friends with Gerry Conlon, who he was friends with until his untimely death in 2014.
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.
The Guildford Four suffered horrific torture and intimidation and were forced to sign confessions. Two years after the conviction of the Guildford Four, the IRA's Balcombe Street gang took responsibility for the bombings.
15 years wrongly imprisoned
During the trial the Guildford Four’s trial the judge said it was his chief regret that he could not hang the three men.
Paul Hill was given, what was at the time, the longest sentence ever handed down in an English court.
His time in prison was particularly hard. He spent five of the 15 years in solitary confinement. He was also “ghosted” over 50 times. Being “ghosted” is when a prisoner is moved without any warning, usually in the middle of the night.
Between the Guildford Four, they served 60 years in prison, for crimes they did not commit.
The Guildford Four released
After a worldwide campaign, the Guildford Four were finally released on Oct 19, 1989.
If was not until 2005, 31 years after they were wrongfully arrested and spent 15 years in prison and 16 years after their release, they received an unprecedented apology from the British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Paul Hill works as a leading human rights campaigner in the United States.
Paul Hill married in to The Kennedys
In 1993, Paul Hill married Courtney Kennedy, a daughter of assassinated American Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a niece of assassinated president John F. Kennedy. The pair married on a boat in the Aegean Sea. They were supposedly introduced by Ethel Kennedy.
On May 22, 1999, the couple had their daughter, Saoirse Roisin Kennedy Hill.
They lived in Ireland from 2002 to 2006 on the west coast. They reportedly separated in February 2006, although this has not been confirmed.
Guildford Four in the media
The Guildford Four’s harrowing tale became the basis for the Oscar-winning movie, In the Name of the Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite.
Paul Hill’s life is the subject of a fact-based drama written by Martin McNamara. The drama, Your Ever Loving, is based on the prison letters penned by Hill during his time in prison.
In the late 1980s a song by The Pogues, Street of Sorrow / Birmingham Six, which was about the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six, was banned under the same law that banned the direct broadcast of members of Sinn Fein.