Marie McCourt: Helen's Law 'will help other families'

Helen McCourt Image copyright PA
Image caption Helen McCourt vanished on her way home from work in 1988

A woman whose daughter's killer has never revealed what happened to her body has welcomed plans to change the law regarding parole.

Helen McCourt was abducted and murdered in 1988 by Ian Simms. Marie McCourt has always opposed his release from prison.

Helen's Law would place "greater consideration on failure to disclose the location of a victim's remains", said the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Mrs McCourt, of St Helens, said it felt "like a big weight has been lifted".

She has been pushing for a change in the law to deny killers parole if they will not reveal where victims' remains are.

She said being denied a funeral for her daughter caused "unimaginable suffering" but if the law is changed "at least Helen's death will help other families".

Her 22-year-old daughter vanished just yards from her home in February 1988.

Image caption Marie McCourt has said being denied a funeral for her daughter had caused "unimaginable suffering"

Pub landlord Simms has never revealed the location of her remains, maintaining he is innocent despite DNA evidence.

He was convicted of murder after blood and an earring, identical to one Helen had, were found in the boot of his car.

He was jailed for life in 1989 and told he would have to serve at least 16 years before he could be considered for parole.

In March, Mrs McCourt spoke of her anger that Simms had been allowed out of prison on temporary release.

Mrs McCourt and her MP Conor McGinn, who represents St Helens North, met with Justice Secretary David Gauke to "explore options" on Wednesday.

A MoJ spokesperson said: "Not knowing the whereabouts of a loved one causes tremendous additional pain, and we have immense sympathy with Helen McCourt's family.

"The justice secretary recently held a positive meeting with Marie McCourt and her MP, and we look forward to working with them on this important issue."

Mr McGinn said: "If the law is implemented before Ian Simms is released, it could apply to him.

"We want Helen's law for all victims and families and I will vociferously oppose the release of Ian Simms."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ian Simms outside court in 1988

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