Marie McCourt wants change in law

Marie McCourt

Marie McCourt

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The law should be changed so convicted killers who do not reveal where their victims’ bodies are cannot be set free, the mother of murdered Helen McCourt has urged.

Marie McCourt’s daughter Helen vanished in 1988 and the 22-year-old’s body has never been recovered.

Helen McCourt

Helen McCourt

Pub landlord and braggart Ian Simms was convicted by overwhelming DNA evidence of murdering her in Billinge near Wigan, but has for decades refused to say where his victim’s body lies.

Ahead of his parole hearing in January, Mrs McCourt has launched a petition to bring in a law in her daughter’s name, ensuring killers like Simms are not released without disclosing the information.

She said being denied a funeral for her daughter has caused “unimaginable suffering”.

She said: “I have endured this nightmare for almost 28 years.”

For almost three decades Simms has refused to reveal the whereabouts of Helen’s body - denying us the chance to grant her the dignity of a funeral and resting place

Marie McCourt

She added: “For almost three decades Simms has refused to reveal the whereabouts of Helen’s body - denying us the chance to grant her the dignity of a funeral and resting place.”

Mrs McCourt is asking Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May directly to “acknowledge the pain and distress caused to the families of missing murder victims”, by ensuring killers who withhold information about the whereabouts of their victims are never set free.

Two other mothers whose children were killed and whose bodies have not been found are also supporting Mrs McCourt’s campaign.

Jean Taylor’s daughter daughter Chantel was killed in 2004 in Birkenhead, Merseyside, while Joan Morson’s son Paul, from St Helens, Merseyside, was killed in 2011.

Labour MP Conor McGinn, who is backing the petition, told the Mirror: “The impact of a murder to the family and friends is devastating, even more so when the killer refuses to allow a dignified final resting place.

“This is why I am adding my support to this campaign for the introduction of Helen’s Law.”