Mum of murdered Helen McCourt launches fresh search for daughter's body

Marie McCourt
Marie McCourt

The mother of murdered Helen McCourt has begun a new search for her daughter’s body with the help of search experts.

Marie McCourt was successful earlier this year with her campaign for a “no body, no parole” clause in killers’ life sentences which has come to be known as Helen’s law.

Killer Ian Simms

Killer Ian Simms

Her 22-year-old daughter Helen 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.

But despite the legal success, Marie told the Mirror that she is still pushing to find her daughter's body without the confession of Simms, and has been reviewing evidence from the 1989 trial.

“I’m determined that while I’m living I will carry on searching. I want to lay her to rest so I know she’s at peace and not lying in some horrible place alone," she told the Mirror, who joined her and search expert Peter Faulding on a search of a clay pit around 15 miles from Billinge,

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.

Helen McCourt

Helen McCourt

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.

Iam Simms was photographed for the first time in 30 years while on day release

Iam Simms was photographed for the first time in 30 years while on day release