Ian Simms has 'met the test for release' says Parole Board

Ian Simms
Ian Simms

Ian Simms, who has never revealed the location of the body of his murder victim Helen McCourt, has "met the test for release", the Parole Board has confirmed.

In a statement, the Parole Board said Simms' release would be subject to a series of conditions.

These include: to reside at a designated address, to be "of good behaviour" and to report for supervision appointments.

He will also have to wear a tagging device to monitor his whereabouts, observe a curfew and avoid any contact with the family of his victim.

The Parole Board said: "Taking into account the denial, the refusal to reveal where the victim's body is, all the risk factors, the progress that Mr Simms has made, the considerable change in his behaviour, the fact that he has not been involved in any violence or substance misuse for many years, his protective factors, the recommendations from all the professionals and all the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was satisfied that Mr Simms met the test for release."

Simms, 63, had his case considered at a seventh parole hearing on November 8.

He had been denied release at his previous hearing in 2016 but was subsequently transferred to an open prison "due to progress made" where he has "followed the rules" when granted temporary release.

The Parole Board said it "carefully considered" Simms' failure to disclose the location of Ms McCourt's body and concluded there is "no prospect of Simms ever disclosing the whereabouts of his victim even if he were kept in prison until he died."

The board added the refusal continues to cause understandable distress and misery to the victim's family and the panel concluded this demonstrated a lack of empathy.

But the board said denial was not a "necessarily determining factor" and also considered evidence from two psychologists who recommended release.

The pub landlord, who was convicted by a jury on overwhelming DNA evidence of the 22-year-old's abduction and murder, has been serving his life sentence at HMP Garth in Leyland, Lancashire.

He has always maintained his innocence over the death of Ms McCourt, an insurance clerk who vanished on her way home from work in Liverpool in February 1988.Simms was convicted the following year.