Coronation Street’s antagonist Richard Charles Hillman appeared in the show from Episode 5060 (June 20th, 2001) until Episode 5460 (March 14th, 2003). Since then, he’s become a household name as one of the show’s most memorable antagonists. When Alma Baldwin’s funeral was held, the character appeared to be a relative of hers. After that, he relocated to Weatherfield, where he met Gail Platt, with whom he began a relationship that eventually led to marriage, making Richard Gail’s third husband.
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Richard, despite appearing to be a “family man” to Gail and her children, was plagued by financial problems and a predilection for murder. During Richard’s plan, he left his business partner Duggie Ferguson to die; murdered his ex-wife Patricia Hillman; sabotaged his mother-in-law Audrey Roberts’s personal routine in order to convince everyone that she had Alzheimer’s Disease; and attempted to murder an elderly neighbor with a crowbar that resulted in him killing fellow neighbor Maxine Peacock and the th.
On the night before they were to leave Weatherfield with her children to begin a new life together, Gail began to doubt Richard’s sincerity. It was only after confronting him that he admitted to his misdeeds and said that he had been sterile during his first marriage to Marion Hillman and that he wanted to have a “Ready Made” family of his own. After his illegal actions were discovered, Richard fled, only to return two weeks later with plans to commit himself and familicide.
He abducted Gail, her children Sarah and David Platt, as well as Gail’s granddaughter Bethany, and then attempted to drown them all in a canal. Gail and her family, on the other hand, escaped with their lives when Richard drowned. Richard’s death had a lasting impact on the Platt family, and he would be mentioned numerous times in the years that followed. Above all, Maxine Peacock would still be alive if she had followed Hillman’s suggestion and “stayed at the party.”
Brian Capron portrayed him.
Richard Hillman’s Biography
Mr. and Mrs. Hillman had a son named Richard Charles Hillman in December of 1951. In the early years of Richard’s life, his father abandoned him and his mother in favor of a new love interest. Alma Halliwell, Richard’s older cousin, was a close family friend until Alma’s mother and Richard’s mother split over a family feud. At least until the mid-1970s, when Richard met Alma’s spouse, Jim Sedgewick, they were in touch. As far as anyone knows, this was Alma’s last known real contact with her cousin, and she never mentioned him while on Coronation Street.
Richard, then 19, tied the knot with Marion, then 22, in 1971. After 23 years of marriage, Richard and Marion were unable to have a child, with Richard assuming Marion was to blame. Richard’s mother, who was suffering from dementia at the time, became ill in 1994 and he decided to care for her. Because Marion was more concerned about having children than caring for an elderly relative, she and Richard broke up. Marion passed away from cancer two years later. In the years leading up to his mother’s death, Richard was a steadfast caregiver for her. Richard’s emotional distress was exacerbated by witnessing his mother’s mental decline.
After the death of his mother, Richard met and married Patrica. They formed a partnership and she received a 20% stake in his property company. Richard tried unsuccessfully to have a child with Patricia and came to the realization that he was the only one unable of bearing children. While Patricia’s marriage to him ended in a divorce settlement, her ownership of his company did not. Considering how much Richard already knew about Alma, how their mothers were sisters, and that he claimed to be her cousin, it seems safe to assume he was telling the truth. Her death had been reported in the newspaper, he claimed.
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When Richard Hillman showed up for Alma Baldwin’s funeral in June 2001, he encountered Janice Battersby, the first Coronation Street resident to whom he revealed his identity. Audrey Roberts, Alma’s best friend, was introduced to Richard by Janice. Richard and Alma’s friends saw a video Alma made before her death in which she expressed her love for her friends and neighbors. Immediately after the funeral, Richard made contact with Audrey and the two of them met up at the Rover’s Return, where Richard explained his relationship with Alma and his job as a financial advisor.
Despite Audrey’s feelings for Richard, it’s clear that Richard prefers Gail, she recently divorced her daughter from Martin. His friendship with Gail rapidly progresses into a romantic one. Her children, David Platt and Sarah Louise Platt accept Richard into their family. After learning that Richard was responsible for several elderly people losing their investments, Norris Cole became skeptical about Richard. To make way for luxury flats, Richard buys a huge detached house in The Ridings from an elderly widow.
Richard’s acquisition of the land angered her son, as it meant that he would not receive his mother’s legacy. In a dispute about Duggie’s bad work and theft of the fittings, Hillman confronts Duggie at an under-construction apartment project. Duggie falls many stories during the altercation when a railing breaks (ironically, due to his own shoddy workmanship). Richard allows Duggie to die so that he can get rid of his unpleasant business partner, opportunistically. At first, he’s terrified and grabs his phone to call 911.
Duggie’s flat, where Duggie keeps his money in an effort to get back at him for lying to him and cutting shortcuts, is where he goes to steal the money. Richard’s ex-wife, Patricia, unexpectedly shows up in May 2002 as Richard and Gail finalize their wedding plans. Patricia plans to cash in on her directorship in Richard’s property company, Kellett Holdings before she departs for Australia. Richard finally persuades Patricia that Kellett Holdings, her 20% stake, is worth £25,000. At his Oakhill flats construction, he agrees to hand over the check, but Richard pauses on the money due to underpinning costs, which causes a confrontation.
Patricia fell into the trench and was smacked in the face with a spade by Richard during the ensuing dispute and battle. On the second day, her body is buried in tonnes of cement to serve as the foundation. Steve McDonald, a builder, discovers a bracelet that belonged to Patricia. In the end, Richard gives Gail the necklace, saying it belonged to his late grandmother and belonged to a client who wanted to look over the house. Norris Cole, Emily’s ex-husband, is upset that Richard convinced her to sign over the deed to her property to him.
Norris believes Richard is trying to injure Emily, who was already beginning to feel ill at the time. Richard has had enough of Norris’ intrusions, so one day he decides to follow him in his car and drive him to the flats. He accuses Norris of interfering and threatens him. When Richard cools down and apologizes to Norris, he allows him to go on his way. Although Norris is still suspicious of Richard, he does not call the police. In the summer of 2002, Richard and Gail are married and take their children on a vacation to Florida.
When Richard returns from his vacation, he is surprised to learn that all of the possible buyers of the flats, including Steve and his wife Karen, have withdrawn owing to the adjacent construction of a hostel for released criminals. Because of this, the value of the flats plummeted, which meant Richard wouldn’t gain any money from them. To make matters worse, The bank would declare Richard bankrupt because of his lavish spending on vacation and cars, as well as his tendency to flaunt his wealth.
His pleas for Curly Watts, the councilor in charge of the hostel’s approval, fell on deaf ears; he was forced to comply because the other councilors had already voted in favor of the project. Richard plotted to murder Gail’s mother, Audrey, in order to get money. It was just a matter of time before Gail and others began to believe that she was showing early signs of dementia because he began to misplace things in her residence. Richard set Audrey’s house on fire one night while Gail was sleeping.
Firefighters saved her life. Archie Shuttleworth, a friend of Audrey’s, stepped in to defend her from Richard, who pursued her and tried to persuade her to join him. Audrey and Archie come to suspect that Richard is a murderer, and Audrey feels afraid for Gail and the children after putting the pieces together. Despite this, Gail refuses to accept Richard’s accusation of murder and considers the notion ludicrous. Police were called to arrest Richard, but they had to release him because there was not enough proof. Richard returned his focus to Emily, who was still unwell, despite his desperate need for money and his refusal to address it with Gail for fear of being labeled a failure.
In December 2002, he considered strangling Emily to death with a pillow, but he changed his mind. When he ultimately decided to kill Emily in January 2003, he had a plan. Richard drugged a young man who was sleeping rough in an abandoned house on Victoria Street and planned to commit a burglary at the Peacock family home in order to fix Sarah’s deranged boyfriend Aidan Critchley, who had previously caused Sarah to be involved in a car accident the year before. Richard pounced on Emily as she was babysitting for Ashley and Maxine Peacock at the Rovers for Maxine’s mother’s birthday celebration.
He broke into the property and beat Emily with a crowbar while the party was in full swing. Maxine came to Joshua’s room early to check on him, and she stumbled upon Richard. He brutally murdered her in order to hide his traces. In order to go back to the party, Richard plundered the establishment and hid the stolen things next to Aidan’s unconscious body. Immediately upon the discovery of the body of Maxine, the police detained Aidan and took him in for interrogation, and he was the main suspect in the case.
Emily managed to escape the attack and was treated for her injuries in the hospital, but she was left shaken by the incident and filled with guilt that Maxine had died while she was alive. Richard’s remorse for killing Maxine was exacerbated when he inherited a huge sum of money from a dead customer and his flats were able to go back on the market when plans for a hostel were withdrawn owing to local protest, making his actions irrelevant. Richard was able to pass himself off as a compassionate next-door neighbor and stood by Ashley’s side. Richard was asked to offer a eulogy at Maxine’s funeral by her relatives.
In spite of his reluctance, Richard accepted and came dangerously near to confessing guilt in a speech, but he held his tongue. Maxine’s family and neighbors congratulated him, but Audrey, Archie, and Norris saw right through the act and suspected Richard, especially after it was discovered Aidan was too intoxicated and drugged to have committed the crime. Richard’s deception had been exposed. Richard wanted to leave the neighborhood and put down a deposit on a new home, so he decided to relocate himself and his family. Gail and her children were overjoyed at the promise of a brighter future.
When Audrey learned through Ken Barlow (who visited Aidan in prison) that the youngster had been poisoned with diazepam, the same drug she had been taking while staying with the Hillmans, the net began to shut around her. For their farewell celebration, Gail began to investigate the drugs cupboard but was interrupted by Richard, who joined them at the pub. For the first time since she’d met Richard, Gail began to have her own doubts. The bracelet had been found at the construction site by Steve, who was telling Karen about it.
When Gail inquired about Audrey’s drug regimen, she learned that she was taking diazepam from the latter. Gail walked out of the party without alerting Richard and returned to her residence. When Richard saw Gail, she urged him to speak the truth. Richard was fed up with lying and informed Gail he was guilty of murder because he couldn’t bear it any longer. Richard confessed to Gail everything he had done, including the attempted murder of Emily and the subsequent murder of Maxine.
He later confessed to killing Patricia and burying her beneath the foundations of his flats, something he had previously denied doing. Rather than admitting he was having an affair with Gail, Richard claimed that he was only doing it for the sake of his family and that he was a far better husband than Brian and Martin had been. The two of them argued over whether or not Richard should tell the authorities and whether or not they should keep it a secret so that they could still go together.
Angry and outraged, Gail rejected Richard’s plan and criticized him for believing that murder was worse than an affair, telling him that she loathed him. When Richard broke down, he discreetly left the house and vanished from Weatherfield. They called the police after Gail called Audrey to tell her what had transpired. To make matters worse, when Richard’s plans were made public, Gail found herself the target of ridicule for her role in their covert execution. Richard’s crimes were examined by the police, and Gail had to explain to them that she was unaware of them at the time.
Gail was received with hostility by certain people, including Ashley, who suspected Gail of knowing about Richard’s infidelity because Audrey had seen something was amiss with him for months. After losing their whole life savings, Vera Duckworth went to the public and claimed that Gail was responsible. Gail and her children were subjected to a barrage of questions from the media, who suspected she had some role in the murders. Richard’s plots included Emily Bishop, but not all locals believed Gail was involved. Gail’s suffering came to Richard’s attention in the media during this time.
His mental health had steadily degraded over the two weeks he had spent in seclusion, knowing there was no going back from his acts. Return to Coronation Street was the final straw for him. On the 14th of March 2003, Richard returned to the street and entered No.8 where he washed and dressed in his wedding suit. For Gail’s sake, he penned an apology letter. Sarah, David, and Bethany were abducted from the house by Richard, who bound and gagged Sarah and David while drugging Bethany before loading them all into his car and driving away. Richard forbade Gail from leaving when she returned in the evening to make the tea.
Gail tried to persuade Richard to turn himself in, but he refused, claiming he couldn’t live in prison without Gail. In order to be reunited with her children, he insisted that she leave with him and go somewhere “far away.” Gail grudgingly agreed. Richard taped Gail’s wrists and led her into the garage to view the restraints on the neighborhood kids there. For the first time, Richard admitted that he was planning to murder and commit suicide in order to rid the world of all of its pain and suffering. Richard agreed to Gail’s request to kiss the kids goodnight, not realizing that she was going to give Sarah a pair of nail clippers as a gift.
In order to murder them all, Richard put Gail in the front seat and turned on the exhaust. The automobile engine was running in the garage when Audrey arrived to assist Gail, so she called Martin, Kevin, and Tommy Harris, who were working on the car. They pried open the doors and discovered Richard and his family in captivity. With his family in tow, Richard drove away from the scene. Richard drives towards the canal with the intention of drowning Martin, Kevin Webster, and Tommy Harris. Sarah is able to rescue both Gail and David from their shackles.
They try to stop Richard from plowing them into the canal, but he succeeds, and his final words are that he loves them. Kevin, Tommy, and Martin help them leave the automobile, despite Richard’s vain attempt to cling on to Gail. All of the children, including Gail, are rescued. However, Richard was able to get out of the automobile, but he was unable to get out of the water in time and drowned. The police found Richard’s body, despite the initial belief that he had escaped. It was the same night that Gail and Audrey headed down to the canal, and Gail was ready to get it all over with.
Gail dropped their wedding rings into the canal as Richard’s body was hauled away in a body bag. The coroner released Richard’s body at the end of March. Gail wanted Richard’s funeral to be a simple cremation with little pomp or circumstance, believing that he was not deserving of a proper farewell celebration. His cremation was attended just by her and Archie, the funeral director. A memorial bench for Maxine was put on the street the same day, and when Gail arrived, Ashley assured her that he did not hold her responsible for her death.
In spite of Richard’s death, the Platt family would live with the memories of him forever. It’s not uncommon for them and those who knew him to bring up his name in conversation. As a cruel prank, David began mailing cards to Richard’s family in 2006 that was addressed to him specifically. In the wake of this, Gail had to begin taking medication and abusing alcohol. Eileen Grimshaw and her ex-boyfriend Phil Nail were two of the many suspects in the murder of Gail Hillman, whom David loathed since he was writing a book on the case.
As far as I’m concerned, Les Battersby’s allegation that he had driven Richard to the hospital was completely false. Gail opted not to pursue the case any further since she knew David was emotionally fragile after Richard nearly murdered him. David was eventually revealed to be the suspect in the case. After Richard attempted to kill David and his family in October 2007, David returned to the area and drove into the canal to make his family believe he was going to kill himself. Sarah’s wedding to Jason Grimshaw was ruined as a result of this.
Even 10 years after Richard’s death, David admitted to his wife Kylie that he had been plagued by nightmares depicting him and his family. Slightly ironically, David would occasionally bring up Richard as a joke when making fun of Gail’s crazy number of marriages, regardless of his sins and misdemeanors. Over time, David’s charges against Gail for allowing Richard into their lives and attempting to kill them diminished as he grew older.
During a conversation with her grandfather’s stepgranddaughter Bethany Tinker in 2017, Richard’s stepgranddaughter Bethany recalled hearing about his victim Maxine Peacock while sitting on Maxine’s Bench. Gail was contacted by Richard 15 years after his death via a psychic medium in 2018. Rosemary Piper was the person who acted as this medium. Richard cast a curse on Gail’s family, which is why she has had so much terrible luck since his death, she said.
Gail called Rosemary in June 2018 because she was ready to put an end to the Hillman curse for good. The information about Richard that Rosemary received came from Audrey Roberts’ ex-boyfriend Lewis Archer, who later revealed her to be a fraud.
- In the 1980s, Brian Capron played social worker Don Worthington on the show.
- It’s unclear if Richard was murdered before 2001, but given that he was a financial advisor, it’s likely that he was a man who appeared respectable and humble on the outside but was actually a cunning killer on the inside.
- Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Scariest Moments ranked the Richard Hillman plot 32nd in 2003.
- In the 2010 Coronation Street DVD spin-off Knight’s Tale, Brian Capron played a boatman named Dickie who looked eerily like Richard Hillman and caused Norris Cole distress. Dickie’s love of water and the fact that he had a cousin in Manchester sparked many jokes about his being related to Richard.
- It’s highly possible that Richard and Alma were blood relatives, and that he exploited this fact to defraud Alma’s acquaintances. It’s possible, albeit remote, that he was fabricating the whole thing. When he said that Alma’s mothers were sisters, Richard seemed to know a lot about her. This suggests that he was telling the truth. The cousin link was never challenged when Richard’s nefarious intents were disclosed therefore it is safe to claim they were cousins.
- Glenda Young’s character biography Norman Bates with a Briefcase: The story of Richard Hillman, which contains a foreword by Brian Capron, depicts Richard’s life story in detail.