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 so Jack retaliated by pushing him into a pond. Paul then left the village.