Heartache goes on for Helen McCourt's family as exhumation of grave does not find her body (From St Helens Star)
Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Heartache goes on for Helen McCourt's family as exhumation of grave does not find her body
6:02pm Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
THE 25 years of anguish will continue for the family of murder victim Helen McCourt after searches in a Billinge grave found no traces of her remains.
Since news of the exhumation emerged this morning, the town had been on edge to see if one of St Helens’ greatest mysteries would be solved.
But after grave diggers, police and forensic teams spent hours searching a plot in the cemetery of St Aidan’s Church, Billinge, officers announced the discoveries were in keeping with cemetery records.
Helen’s mother, Marie, 70, who longs to give her daughter a Christian burial, has been informed of the development.
Police had been acting on intelligence suggesting Helen’s body had been buried in a grave that was open around the time of her disappearance.
Detectives have not revealed their source but confirmed the information did not come from Ian Simms, the former George and Dragon landlord who is still in prison for murdering the attractive insurance clerk in 1988.
Large forensic tents could be seen in the graveyard throughout today and the development led to a media frenzy.
In a statement police said tonight: “Merseyside Police can confirm that officers have completed an exhumation at a grave in St Aidan’s Church, Billinge, and the occupants of the grave are in keeping with cemetery records.
“Officers, acting on intelligence linked to the disappearance and murder of Helen McCourt in February 1988, began the exhumation on Tuesday, October 15 with the assistance of local authority gravediggers and forensic scientists.
“Authority to carry out the exhumation was granted by the Ministry of Justice, HM Coroner for St Helens and the Bishop of Liverpool's Registry and with the agreement of the family who own the plot.
“Helen McCourt’s family were also informed in relation to the intelligence and the exhumation and have now been advised in relation to the result of the search.”
Simms, who was convicted of killing Helen partly on DNA evidence, remains in Garth prison, Preston, and has always maintained his innocence.
His most recent parole hearing did not reach a conclusion and has been pushed back until next year.
Helen was just 22 when she went missing on a stormy February night in 1988. Over a quarter of a century Marie, her family and helpers have embarked on numerous searches of woodland and remote areas across the north west.
She says she will never give up hope but has now, once again, had to endure the pain of seeing her hopes of a conclusion to the horrific crime being dashed.
Comments are closed on this article.