Mum of murder victim hopes for breakthrough in bid for Helen's Law

Helen McCourt
Helen McCourt
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The mum of murdered Helen McCourt is hoping that a major breakthrough has been achieved in thwarting liberty for killers who won’t reveal a body’s whereabouts.

A Government source told the Daily Mail that laws are to be brought in which make it much harder for convicted murderers to walk free if they have not pointed the authorities to their victims’ remains first.

The change marks a victory for Marie McCourt, whose 22-year-old daughter was killed by Billinge pub landlord Ian Simms in 1988. Simms was jailed despite Helen’s body not having been found and, in protesting his innocence ever since, has not helped police find her.

Mrs McCourt has drawn up a huge petition campaigning for a “no body, no parole” clause in killers’ life sentences which has come to be known as Helen’s law.

She still hopes that this will prevent the now 62-year-old Simms from being released, even though he has already enjoyed unescorted days out from prison in Birmingham, but also other murderers in a similar situation.

And she said that the latest developments mean at least that Helen will “never be forgotten”.

Helen’s Law will force parole boards to take an offender’s refusal to disclose the location of bodies into account when they apply to be freed.

It means murderers who fail to co-operate could spend much longer in jail once they have served their minimum tariff, although it won’t insist that they stay in jail for life.

Mrs McCourt, 74, said: “Until now parole boards have only had to follow guidelines.

“Now, they will be bound by law to consider the terrible toll that crimes like these takes on innocent families when deciding to let these killers out of jail.

“My daughter’s name on the British statute books means she will never, ever be forgotten.

“This is a huge step forward for the campaign. It is not just for Helen, but for every single missing murder victim out there and their families.”