Marie McCourt 'overwhelmed' by public backing for legal appeal

Marie McCourt
Marie McCourt

The mother of murder victim Helen McCourt says she has been "overwhelmed" by the public response to her crowdfunding appeal to help challenge the Parole Board's decision to release her daughter's killer.


More than £20,000 in donations has already been received towards a £50,000 target which would fund a possible bid to seek a judicial review of last week's ruling on Ian Simms.

Marie McCourt, from Billinge, has fought tirelessly to keep killers behind bars until they lead police to a victim's body, but her campaign - dubbed Helen's Law - failed to be ratified before Parliament was dissolved.

She appealed for help through fund-raising website GoFundMe after she said such legal action "could be expensive" and she had "never received a penny of legal aid".

Ms McCourt said: "I am stunned, touched and overwhelmed at the outpouring of support I have received since launching my crowdfunding appeal on Friday.

"With no Government in place and a General Election still three weeks away, I don't think I have ever felt so alone - despite the continued efforts of those who have always been by my side.

"So it is enormously encouraging to know that I have so much backing and goodwill from you all in my quest to overturn this appalling decision by the Parole Board and seek justice, not only for my daughter Helen, but for all missing murder victims.

"I will never be able to thank you enough. Please do continue to share, spread the word and help me get Helen's Law - and all it entails - in place.

"Other cruel killers who have acted in this way will be lining up for parole in the months and years to come. It is essential that we make a stand now - and with your help, I can continue to fight this."

Simms has always maintained his innocence over the death of the 22-year-old insurance clerk, who vanished on her way home from work in Liverpool in 1988 and whose body has never been found.

Pub landlord Simms was jailed for life after he was convicted of abduction and murder.

The final decision on when he is released will be made by the Prison Service, although the Justice Secretary or even the killer himself can appeal.

The Parole Board said Simms was deemed suitable for release due to factors including the "considerable change in his behaviour".

He was eligible to be considered for release on February 15 2004.