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Parole Board to decide fate of Helen McCourt's killer Ian Simms
4:05pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
A MOTHER has warned that her daughter’s killer will be free to “dance” on the spot where her undiscovered remains lie if he is released from prison.
Marie McCourt spoke at a hearing in Garth Prison, Preston that was considering whether Ian Simms should be granted parole.
For 25 years, ex-George and Dragon landlord Simms has refused to reveal where Helen’s body is, leaving Marie and her family unable to carry out a Christian burial.
Helen disappeared on a stormy in February 1988 and Simms was later convicted, largely on DNA evidence.
Marie read out a statement to the parole board – made up of a high court judge, psychologist and lay woman - detailing why he should remain in jail.
Simms, who is serving a life sentence, again refused to face her at the hearing.
Marie, 70, told the Star: “The hearing started at 10.30am and just prior to that I was informed that Ian Simms would not be present.
“He doesn’t have to be there but I put it down to the fact that the man is a coward. He knows he’s done it and he’s not willing for me to read out the statement about how the loss of my daughter has affected my life.
“I know from the first parole hearing in 2009 how stressful it was. I had expected to face Helen’s killer. But now I try not to build myself up too much.”
Marie believes that Simms holds a deep anger towards her, as was evident in a cold and callous response her gave her in a letter in 1991.
She explained: “I wrote to him saying it was three years since I last saw my Helen’s beautiful smiling face and hear her laughter.
“It’s three years since this nightmare began for both of us. I thought by writing to him he may acknowledge what it was like for me.
“But he wrote back saying it’s three years since I last saw my children’s smiling faces. He’d just copied the opening part of my letter.”
Marie must now wait for the decision of the board, which could be taken within the next two weeks.
If he is released, she wants a restriction order placed on him so that he cannot come within 50 miles of Billinge.
She added: “We will still be searching for Helen and don’t want to come across him. He could go to where Helen is and dance on her grave.”