Helen McCourt: Mum says killer must stay behind bars until he reveals where her body is | UK News


The mother of a murder victim has pleaded with the Parole Board to keep the killer behind bars while he refuses to say where he hid her body.

Helen McCourt was murdered in 1988 after disappearing as she made her way home from work.

Pub landlord Ian Simms was convicted based on DNA evidence, but he has always maintained his innocence and the body of Ms McCourt, a 22-year-old insurance clerk, was never found.

Helen's mum says not knowing where her daughter's body is, is 'torture'

Helen’s mum says every parole hearing is distressing

Ms McCourt’s mother Marie will speak at a hearing on Thursday where it will be decided whether Simms should be released.

She has campaigned for a law denying parole to killers who refuse to reveal the location of their victims’ bodies.

The legislation – Helen’s Law – made it through the early stages of parliamentary ratification before it was dissolved for the election. This means the process has to begin again after the election.

Officially called The Prisoners (Disclosure Of Information About Victims) Bill, it would also cover paedophiles who refuse to identify their victims.

Mrs McCourt, from St Helens in Merseyside, said: “Every parole hearing relating to this man is distressing – but this one is particularly so.

“Simms has never come this close to being released – while Helen’s Law is so close to being added to the statute books.

File photo dated 15/2/1988 of Ian Simms at St Helen's Magistrates Court. The murderer who has refused for more than 30 years to disclose what he did with his victim's body has reportedly been allowed out of jail on temporary release.

Ian Simms has refused for more than 30 years to disclose what he did with his victim’s body

“This man not only took my daughter’s life but has perpetuated the agony by refusing to say where he hid her body.


“Reading my victim statement aloud is a reminder that the pain is as raw now as it was more than 31 years ago when my daughter was murdered – but I have to do this for Helen.

“Until Simms faces up to what he has done and admits his guilt, he will never get the help he needs.

“I pray that the parole judges listen to my plight, make the right decision and keep Simms locked up until he reveals where we can find Helen, bring her home and lay her to rest.”

Offenders who withhold information may pose a risk to the public and could face longer in prison, according to Parole Board guidance.

Courts can also sentence murderers more harshly if they deliberately hide the location of a body.

Helen’s Law, however, would require the Parole Board to take this into account when considering a prisoner’s release.

A Parole Board spokesman said: “The Parole Board will consider a range of evidence before making its decision.

“This will be done with great care and with public safety the number one priority.”

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