TV show may bring hope to victim’s family

Marie McCourt
Marie McCourt
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One of St Helens’s most notorious murders is set to feature in a new television documentary.

Billinge insurance clerk Helen McCourt was killed by Ian Simms more than 26 years ago.

And while he has languished in jail ever since, his victim’s body has never been found.

Last year police exhumed a grave behind St Aidan’s Church in a bid to finally put an end to her family’s torment, but, sadly, their efforts were to no avail.

The inability to give the 22-year-old a Christian burial has tortured her family, particularly mother Marie who has never given up her quest to find her daughter’s resting place.

This week she said she hoped that Simms’s own children would watch the June 8 episode of A Town and Country Murder, and finally realise just how substantial a case there has always been against their father.

She says they may then stop believing the version of events he had been peddling them since they were young and try to persuade him to come clean and end the McCourts’ torment.

The hour-long programme will feature reconstructions and interviews with family, police and media.

Helen vanished on her way home from work in Liverpool on the stormy evening of February 9, 1988.

All police investigations led to the landlord of the George and Dragon pub in Billinge and he was convicted on a large amount of forensic evidence in the pub flat, the boot of his car and his and Helen’s dumped and bloodied clothes.

Mrs McCourt, who recently discovered Simms’s latest parole hearing had been delayed for the second time in seven months, said: “Simms’s children - who were four and six at the time but will now be in their 30s - could be the key to finding Helen’s body.

“He has told them his version of events for years. Now they are old enough and can see all the proper evidence on this programme they can put pressure on him to confess and say where Helen is.”

A Town and Country Murder is set to be aired at 9pm on June 8 on Crime and Investigation (Sky channel 553, Virgin Media 237 or BT433).