'He got what he deserved' – Mother of victim says on killer's death

‘He got what he deserved’: Mother of murdered Helen McCourt’s says death of her daughter’s killer is a ‘great relief’ as she calls on friends of ex-landlord to come forward to reveal location of her body after taking secret to his grave

  • Marie McCourt hopes someone comes forward to reveal where Helen’s body is
  • She said it’s a ‘great relief’ that murderer Ian Simms died two years after release
  • Since his conviction he refused to reveal what he had done with Helen’s remains
  • Marie campaigned for Helen’s Law which means killers get less chance of parole 

The mother of Helen McCourt has described the death of her daughter’s killer two years after he was released from prison as a ‘great relief’.

Marie McCourt has said she now hopes that someone connected to murderer Ian Simms will come forward and reveal where he hid her daughter’s body after she vanished in Merseyside in 1988.

The insurance clerk was walking home from work in Billinge, Merseyside, when Simms, a pub landlord, murdered the 22-year-old. 

Simms, 65, a former pub landlord, died last week in ‘supervised’ accommodation and it’s understood no cause of death has yet been given.

Mrs McCourt from St Helens in Merseyside, told the Mirror: ‘It’s a great relief knowing that this man is at last wiped off this earth.

‘He’s got what he deserved. I’m hoping now maybe he spoke to somebody in prison or maybe one of his friends or family who were perhaps too scared to come forward when he was alive, will do so now.’

It comes after years of campaigning by Mrs McCourt for legislation dubbed Helen’s Law – supported by the Mail – to force the Parole Board to consider a killer’s failure to reveal where their victim’s body is before release.

She was not able to take advantage of the law and lived in fear when he was released from prison with a tag on in 2020. 

Marie McCourt, the mother of Helen McCourt (pictured, victim), has said she now hopes that someone connected to murderer Ian Simms will come forward and reveal where he hid her body following his death

Marie McCourt wants Britain to adopt ‘Helen’s Law’ – legislation which would prevent the release of killers who have hidden the locations of their victims’ bodies.

She writes on change.org: If parole is granted, my hopes of finding my daughter may never be realised. No other family should live this ordeal.

I, hereby, petition the Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to acknowledge the pain and distress caused to the families of missing murder victims by:

Denying parole to murderers for as long as they refuse to disclose the whereabouts of their victim’s remains 

Passing a full life tariff (denying parole or release) until the murderer discloses the location (and enables the recovery) of their victim’s remains 

Automatically applying the following rarely-used common law offences in murder trials without a body*; preventing the burial of a corpse and conspiracy to prevent the burial of a corpse, disposing of a corpse, obstructing a coroner (*as in the case of R v Hunter, 1974 (from Archbold, Criminal Pleading Evidence and Practice 2015) 

Simms was married, 31, and a father of two when he ran the George and Dragon pub before Helen from Bootle vanished on her way home from work in 1988 and whose body has never been found.

He was handed a life sentence in 1989 after being convicted by a jury on overwhelming DNA evidence of Ms McCourt’s abduction and murder.

Since his conviction in 1989, Simms has shown no remorse and steadfastly refused to reveal what he had done with the insurance clerk’s remains.

Marie McCourt said Simms died on Friday and she was told yesterday during the day and it was later confirmed by the Ministry of Justice. 

She said last night: ‘I just pray now that somebody may have some details of where he said he had done it.

‘It breaks my heart but not just mine but all families who’ve had loved ones taken.

‘It’s hard to lose a child through illness, it’s worse when someone deliberately takes her life.’

After his release Simms could not come in a 50 mile radius of where she lives but Mrs McCourt would have ‘sleepless nights’ worrying about him ‘sneaking’ up to where she lives. 

The 78-year-old also spoke about how she searches an area of the North West which also has a similar clay to what was found in Simms’ car and on his jeans and boots.

And Mrs McCourt added she will continue to search for her daughter’s body.  

Simms was told he would serve at least 16 years and one day behind bars. 

He was eligible to be considered for release in February 2004.

Mrs McCourt previously said she was ‘in shock’ at the decision to consider Simms’ release.

The summary of the Parole Board’s original ruling said Simms was deemed suitable for release due to factors including the ‘considerable change in his behaviour’.

The decision to release him was subject to a number of conditions including residing at a designated address, having to wear a tagging device to monitor his whereabouts, observe a curfew and avoid any contact with the family of his victim. 

In the meantime, Simms was given a parole hearing and judges agreed he could go free.

They claimed that Simms was low risk, despite agreeing he would probably never reveal what he had done with Miss McCourt’s remains because during his three decades inside he has convinced himself he is innocent. 

Marie McCourt holding a photo portrait of her murdered 22-year-old daughter, Helen

Ian Simms leaves The George and Dragon pub in Billinge under police guard after Helen’s disappearance in 1988

Ian Simms at St Helen’s Magistrates Court. The murderer who has refused for more than 30 years to disclose what he did with his victim’s body was allowed out of jail on temporary release

Mrs McCourt said the Parole Board’s logic was flawed and its argument proved Simms was a ‘psychopath’. 

She also cited a menacing letter he wrote to her from jail in 1991, in which he threatened her family and vowed ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ and to get ‘justice’ for himself once released. 

In September 2020 two judges ruled against her after considering Mrs McCourt’s judicial review application at a virtual High Court in July, saying that the Parole Board’s decision ‘involved no arguable public law error’. 

The case is a rare example where a murder conviction has been obtained without the presence of a body, and was one of the first in the UK to use DNA fingerprinting. 

In a written ruling, the judges said: ‘The panel were acutely aware of the sensitivities in this case and adopted a careful and balanced approach both to the procedure to be adopted and to the assessment of Simms’ current risk.’  

Tom Little QC, representing Mrs McCourt, told the court that this decision was ‘unreasonable’ and had asked the judges to quash it.

‘He must have known, and still knows, the location of Helen’s body. Despite this, he has refused to disclose this for over three decades,’ he said at the time. 

Mrs McCourt’s campaigning following her daughter’s death led to the Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Act, dubbed Helen’s Law, being enacted in 2021.

The law makes it harder for killers and paedophiles who hold back information on their victims to receive parole.

Under the legislation, killers could still be released if no longer deemed a risk to the public even if they refuse to disclose information.

Source: Read Full Article