Saoirse Kennedy Hill, 22, (pictured as a child) – died from a suspected drugs overdose at the Kennedy family’s Cape Cod compound
Tragic Saoirse Kennedy Hill will be mourned on both sides of the Atlantic, says her ‘heartbroken’ British grandmother on the day she was laid to rest.
Lily Hill – elderly mother of Saoirse’s father Guildford Four member Paul Hill – spoke of her family’s grief at her West Belfast home at the same time of the funeral in America.
Speaking from her home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she told MailOnline: ‘It’s unbelievable. It’s hard to take in. Paul’s been through a lot in his life and the Kennedys have too.
‘We’re in deep shock. She was a lovely girl. I don’t know how Paul and Courtney are going to cope with it.
Despite her devastation Lily, 86, hasn’t spoken to her son Paul about Saoirse’s sudden death at the Kennedy compound in Cape Cod from a suspected drugs overdose.
She and Paul do not speak often, she said. He left home when he was seven to live with his grandparents because he didn’t get along with his father.
And on his release from prison in 1989 after his conviction for the Guildford pub bombings was quashed, Hill moved to the US where he made a new life for himself.
Saoirse was the daughter of Paul Hill, one of the members of the Guildford Four (pictured with his daughter right) and granddaughter of assassinated presidential candidate Robert Kennedy
Saoirse’s father Paul, 65, one of four men known as the Guildford Four wrongly convicted of 1974 pub bombings who spent 15 years in jail, was pictured at his daughter’s funeral yesterday
Hill, a father of two, who was freed from jail in 1989 after his conviction for the pub bombings in Guildford was quashed was seen with the Kennedy clan carrying his daughter’s coffin
He has previously spoken about meeting Courtney, a human rights lawyer, after being introduced by her mother, Ethel Kennedy.
The couple had Saoirse and lived in the States and on the west coast of Ireland until their split in 2006.
Paul’s brother Patrick says Saoirse’s father has distanced himself from the family and texted his former partner Gina, with whom he has an older daughter, to tell her about the 22-year-old’s death.
Saoirse’s British grandmother Lily Hill spoke of her family’s grief at her West Belfast home at the same time of the funeral in America
Gina then phoned Lily and the rest of the family to break the news to them.
Gina told MailOnline: ‘He just texted messaged me to get in touch with him ASAP it was very urgent. And I knew it wasn’t his mother because I knew if it had of been her we would have heard here first. When I called he just said, ‘My Saoirse’s dead’.
‘Saoirse was here a couple of years ago. There was a good bond between her and Kara, she’s lost a sister.
‘You’d think Paul’s hardship was when he was in jail, but this is harder for him than anything.’
Gina, a grandmother-of-nine, said that Saoirse’s apparent suicide after a long battle with depression shines a spotlight on mental health issues.
She said: ‘Depression has its own way of creeping up on people. It can knock at anyone’s door. No matter what your surroundings or what it looks like to the outside world, nobody knows what’s going on in the inside.
Paul Hill was one of four men known as the Guildford Four wrongly convicted of 1974 pub bombings and spent 15 years in jail before later marrying Courtney Kennedy – the daughter of assassinated presidential candidate Robert Kennedy.
Saoirse (left and right), who was set to start her senior year at Boston College next month, was pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital. She’d endured a long battle with depression
Tragedy brought the Kennedy family together again today, as they gathered at Our Lady of Victory Church to say goodbye to 22-year-old Saoirse.
Saoirse had been just a few miles away at the family’s sprawling compound at Hyannis Port on Thursday when emergency responders found her in cardiac arrest.
The student, who was set to start her senior year at Boston College next month, was later pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital.