I fear I’ll die before I lay my murdered girl to rest.. we are still waiting for Helen’s Law
Mum’s plea as killer could be freed
A MUM whose daughter was murdered nearly 30 years ago has pleaded with the killer to finally reveal what he did with the body.
Tormented Marie McCourt has spent decades wondering what happened to her beloved 22-year-old girl Helen.
The man convicted of murdering her, pub landlord Ian Simms, is coming up for parole and could be freed from jail soon after Christmas.
But he has always refused to tell authorities what he did with Helen’s remains.
And Marie, now 74, is afraid she will go to her own grave without ever learning the truth.
She said: “Time is running out. My greatest fear is to die without laying my murdered child to rest.”
Marie has been campaigning for an Act dubbed Helen’s Law, which would rule that killers who refuse to say where their victims’ bodies are buried would never be released.
It would ease the anguish of hundreds of relatives such as Winnie Johnson, who died without knowing what Moors fiend Ian Brady did with her son Keith, 12. Next Wednesday it will be a year since a “No body, no parole” bill was unanimously backed by MPs in the Commons. Marie’s local Labour MP Conor McGinn presented the bill, more than 400,000 people have signed an e-petition and the loved ones of many other murder victims have lent support. But the bill failed to get a vital second reading and “fell”, meaning it was shelved, when Theresa May called the election earlier this year. Now Marie is praying it will be resurrected and still go on to become law. She said: “Helen’s Law is the only hope. “I’m terrified at the thought of Simms being released from prison to dance on her grave. “I have lived my life waiting every day for that one call from the police to say, ‘Simms has confessed and we are looking at this area’. “I want to lay my daughter to rest and I want it to be her legacy that killers who hide their victims and don’t reveal where they are can never expect to be released.” Insurance clerk Helen was brutally murdered on her way home from work in February 1988. Simms was convicted of her murder at Liverpool Crown Court amid over- whelming forensic and circumstantial evidence. In the years that followed, Marie’s family embarked on a painstaking but vain search for Helen’s body. They pored over maps, hired sniffer dogs, crawled through rat-infested drains and tunnels, and even emptied rubble from mine shafts with their bare hands. In 1992 Marie wrote to Simms saying: “As a mother I beg you to end this nightmare now before it is too late. “Either of us could die tomorrow. Please let me give Helen a Christian burial for both our sakes.” But Simms, who claimed at his 16-day trial that someone had incriminated him, sent back only an offensive reply threatening to seek “justice” once free. Marie, of Billinge, St Helens, Merseyside, said: “His refusal to cooperate shows his complete lack of remorse.” Simms’ next parole hearing is due between January and April. Mr McGinn, who plans to raise the issue in Parliament this week, said: “I am continuing to fight to get Helen’s Law on the statute book. “It would finally give peace to all those families who still do not know what happened to loved ones.” The call for Helen’s Law has coincided with similar campaigns in several Australian states. features@sunday mirror.co.uk
Marie says Simms shouldn’t be freed
Killer Simms shows no remorse
Helen’s body was never found