Sarah arrives on Albert Square with her dad Ted and brother Tony Hills. Over a dinner party with her family, Ted is forced to admit that his business is in trouble when a boy was killed after falling off scaffolding and the boy's family was harassing them. Sarah is also rather troublesome shoplifting from various market stalls. This is noticed by Alistair Matthews, a shop manager and religious cult leader who makes Sarah turn to religion to avoid being turned in to the police. Sarah finds God and becomes friends with local vicar Alex Healy. She has sex with Robbie Jackson but is ashamed of what she has done and runs away to live rough on the streets. This results in Sarah's father Ted attacking Robbie accusing him of raping her and landing him in hospital.
When she returns home, her dad refuses to believe Robbie didn't rape her and Sarah is shocked to learn what he did to Robbie. Sarah moves in with her aunt, Kathy Mitchell, her husband Phil and her cousin, Ben. Kathy tries to get Sarah and Ted to make up, but Sarah is disgusted with her dad's violent behaviour. She reports her dad to the police for assaulting Robbie and Ted is arrested. When Sarah and Ted attempt to make amends, things go well until Sarah believes that Ted thinks he did the right thing. She also gets engaged twice, firstly to Joe Wicks and later to Matthew Rose. The former relationship ends when Joe has sex with Mary Flaherty and the latter ends when Sarah finds out Matthew only wants her for sex. Sarah's last appearance is at Matthew's trial, when he is convicted of the murder of Saskia Duncan in October 1999 – although the real killer is Steve Owen. She then leaves Walford to attend university. It has since been mentioned that Sarah reconciled with Joe several years later.