Paul Hilleley was a journalist who crossed most of the villagers in July 1980 when he wrote an article which mentioned the more unpleasant side to Beckindale's past. He found out about the murder of Sharon Crossthwaite in 1973, and discovered that she was a distant cousin of the Sugdens. He tried to quiz Annie Sugden about personal matters so she told him to leave. Paul ended up crossing Jack Sugden by spreading libel about him, saying he had a relationship with his cousin, so an angry Jack retaliated by saying Sharon was not immediate family, that she was a cousin about 10 times removed, before pushing him into a pond. Paul then left the village.