Marie McCourt: Twenty five years on, I never imagined I'd still be waiting to find my Helen (From St Helens Star)
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Marie McCourt: Twenty five years on, I never imagined I'd still be waiting to find my Helen
11:00am Thursday 14th February 2013 in News
THE ever-present pain of not being able to find her daughter’s remains and allow her to rest in peace has now been endured by Marie McCourt for a quarter of a century.
And, in the week that the 25th anniversary of Helen’s murder passed, the long suffering mother has revealed her greatest fear is the discovery will never be made in her lifetime.
Marie, who turns 70 this year, was this week reflecting on the torturous wait she has suffered since Helen’s disappearance at the age of 22, on February 9, 1988.
Ian Simms, landlord of the George and Dragon, remains in prison for her murder but still refuses to admit his guilt or reveal where her remains were hidden.
Speaking in the week of the anniversary at her Billinge home, where floral tributes – some sent by police officers who worked on the investigation – rest beneath photographs of a smiling Helen, Marie told the Star: “You look at the case of Winnie Johnson, mother of Moors murders victim Keith Bennett.
“Her wish was that he would be discovered and a burial could take place.
“And though I’m sure he will have been waiting for her in heaven, I know Winne wanted Keith buried alongside her.
“So that is my greatest fear. I didn’t imagine that all these decades on I’d still be waiting to find her.
“When Simms was convicted I thought it would happen within the first six weeks. I was later told by a criminal psychologist that it would take between three to five years for him to realise he would have to tell or remain in prison.”
Marie’s last contact with Simms, who will now be in his late 50s, was back in the early 90s.
Then, in the light of his appeal being rejected, she wrote a letter to prison pleading with him to reveal where he placed the body.
She was so upset by the response that she has never written again.
She is pressing, however, to confront Simms at his next parole board hearing at Garth prison, Leyland where it is believed he is held.
Marie, who would be willing to confront Simms one-on-one should he be willing to confess just to her, added: “I can’t say why he won’t tell. He has two children of his own, both who will be older than what Helen was when she was killed.
“Maybe after denying it for all these years he doesn’t want to admit to them he is a liar and a killer.
“Perhaps he is protecting someone, who helped him dispose of the body. I don’t believe anyone else was involved in her death but I thought at the time was there someone who assisted him with the body?”
A service to remember Helen’s life and to mark the 25th anniversary of her disappearance will be held at Birchley St Mary’s Church, Billinge on Friday, February 22 at 7.30pm. Lanterns will be released in her memory.
Family and close friends will later gather in the St Mary’s social club.