Helen’s Law backed by MPs

Helen McCourt
Helen McCourt

MPs have unanimously backed a bill that could prevent the killer of Wigan woman from being released from prison.

Helen’s Law was launched last year by Marie McCourt, 73, who fears that Ian Simms - who was convicted of killing her 22-year-old daughter Helen in Billinge in 1988 - could be released from prison without ever revealing where her daughter’s body is hidden.

Marie believes if parole is granted to Helen’s killer then her hopes of finding her daughter will never be released. As I have said she is also determined that no family should live through this ordeal

MP Conor McGinn

Marie’s MP Conor McGinn presented a 10-Minute Bill to fellow MPs in Parliament today, Tuesday, and received unanimous support for the bill - Unlawful Killing (Recovery of Remains) - which asks for parole to be denied to killers who refuse to co-operate with police in enabling victims’ bodies to be recovered.

The St Helens North MP told the House of Commons: “As Marie has repeatedly and so eloquently said this campaign is not just about her or Helen but about ensuring others who find themselves in such horrific circumstances do not have this added pain visited on them.

“Just yesterday the Home Office revealed to me that there have been 30 murders where no body has been recovered in England and Wales since 2007 alone.

“But as it currently stands the English legal system does not require a convicted murder at the end of their determined tariff to admit guilt or reveal the location of a victim’s remains before being released.

“Marie believes if parole is granted to Helen’s killer then her hopes of finding her daughter will never be released. As I have said she is also determined that no family should live through this ordeal.

“My bill seeks to acknowledge and in some cases mitigate the stress caused to the families of missing murder victims.”

Former pub landlord Simms was convicted of killing Helen on DNA evidence in a landmark case despite Helen’s body never been found.

There will be a second reading of the bill on February 3.