Helen’s body not found

Police searching for the remains of murder victim Helen McCourt at the graveyard of St Aidan's Church in Billinge.
Police searching for the remains of murder victim Helen McCourt at the graveyard of St Aidan's Church in Billinge.
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Police have confirmed that they have not found the body of murdered 22-year-old Helen McCourt during an excavation of a Billinge graveyard.

Officers have completed an exhumation at a grave in St Aidan’s Church after receiving intelligence that she could be buried there.

However, it has now been announced that the search for Miss McCourt’s remains has not produced the result her mother Marie was so desperately praying for.

It is a quarter of a century since the Billinge insurance clerk vanished and local pub landlord Ian Simms was jailed for her murder.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: “Merseyside Police can confirm that officers have completed an exhumation at a grave in St Aidan’s Church, Billinge, and the occupants of the grave are in keeping with cemetery records.

“Officers, acting on intelligence linked to the disappearance and murder of Helen McCourt in February 1988, began the exhumation on Tuesday, October 15 with the assistance of local authority gravediggers and forensic scientists.

“Authority to carry out the exhumation was granted by the Ministry of Justice, HM Coroner for St Helens and the Bishop of Liverpool’s Registry and with the agreement of the family who own the plot.

“Helen McCourt’s family were also informed in relation to the intelligence and the exhumation and have now been advised in relation to the result of the search.”