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Helen McCourt’s grieving mum has blasted the decision to let her killer out of jail before a “No Body, No Parole" law comes into effect.
Marie McCourt wants Helen’s Law introduced in memory of her 22-year-old daughter, who was killed by pub landlord Ian Simms in 1988.
Simms, 63, has never revealed what he did with the body and last week MPs heard a law change was close.
But Marie has now learned a prison governor is “standing by the decision” to allow him unescorted day release after two escorted trips last month.
She said: “To go ahead with unescorted day release while the Government is so close to introducing Helen’s Law is madness. The temptation for him to abscond and go underground will be just too much.”
Marie, 74, also fears Simms will be a danger to her should he get out.
She said: “When I wrote to Simms in 1992, begging him to tell me where my daughter was, he not only refused to tell me – but promised to have his revenge on release. What’s to stop him travelling to my village to do that?”
Simms’ letter stated: “On my release, I will have justice.” Marie saw this as a threat.
Insurance clerk Helen, from Billinge, Wigan, vanished on February 9, 1988, after getting off a bus on her way home from work.
Three weeks later, her handbag and clothes were found on a river bank 15 miles away. Simms has served 30 years but maintains his innocence despite overwhelming forensic evidence against him.
Marie, backed by the Mirror, has campaigned for parole to be denied to killers who refuse to reveal the whereabouts of victims’ remains. Prisons Minister Rory Stewart has said a law is being considered to stop the “absolutely disgusting practice” of killers hiding bodies.
In response to Marie’s fears, the Ministry of Justice said: “All offenders must meet strict criteria and pass a full risk assessment before being considered for day release.”
Law change backed by 450,000 people
The Mirror launched the Helen’s Law campaign with a front page story in 2015.
Within three days, more than 100,000 people signed Marie’s petition and that figure now stands at nearly 450,000.
Many grieving families are in the same position as Marie. Jane Harrison, 32, of Highbury, North London, was killed by her ex-partner Kevin Doherty in 1995.
Her body has never been found. Carole Packman, 40, vanished in Bournemouth in 1985.
Her husband Russell Causley was convicted of murder but will not say where the body is.
And Linda Jones is still searching for the grave of daughter Danielle, of East Tilbury, Essex, who was murdered by her uncle Stuart Campbell in 2001.
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