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Anguish of not finding Helen is torturing me..it's physical pain
6:00am Saturday 26th October 2013 in News
FRESH from the agonising news that the search for her murdered daughter’s remains has drawn another blank, Marie McCourt says she now faces a fight to move forward.
For 25 years she has longed for any clue for the whereabouts of Helen, killed by former pub landlord Ian Simms who has refused to disclose where he hid her body.
When news broke that a grave had been exhumed in St Aidan’s Cemetery in Billinge last Wednesday following a tip off to police Marie thought her painful search was finally over.
But when the results of the exhumation were found to match cemetery records those hopes were dashed. Helen was not buried there.
Marie, 70, from Billinge, had gone down to the cemetery as forensic officers, police and gravediggers carried out their work in driving rain and wind.
She later told the Star: “It’s only really just hitting me, so I’m having what the family says is a ‘no day’. But it’s not as bad as my no days used to be.
“Now I have to push myself and move forward. It’s hard because I really thought she was going to be found.”
Marie said the latest police operation came about as a result of several strands of police intelligence gathered over time.
She said since Helen’s disappearance there were rumours – unknown to her – that Helen’s body had been placed in a grave, which was open ahead of a family funeral at the time Helen disappeared.
She said: “This information built up then recently it started to come together.
“Someone I knew had spoken to the family who owned the grave and I am very appreciative of their understanding. If someone was in that grave it would be upsetting for the family.
“Now I have the disappointment that we are not going to be able to give Helen a burial. What I was hoping for is that we could go on with our lives.
“Although you can never put the loss of a child behind you, it’s always there, but at least we could deal with it in a more appropriate way.
“When I get in my car I will be once again looking at fields wandering if she’s there.”
Dealing with the crushing disappointment, Marie added: “This doesn’t diminish my pain and loss, and part of me is angry that this man [Simms] is sat in a nice prison cell.
“I know he doesn’t want to be in prison but he can sit there and have his food cooked, he can see a psychiatrist if need be or have a bad tooth dealt with, something most of us don’t have easy access to.
“All I want to know is where I can find Helen, nothing more than that. I need to keep Helen in the papers to put pressure on this man.
“I want the Ministry of Justice and the prison service to now say this can’t go on. What he’s doing is very wrong.
“This is torturing me. It’s a physical pain. I know they can’t make him talk but someone should say it’s gone on long enough.
“Surely this puts paid to anyone out there who says he may be innocent. He could have been out if he tells us, but perhaps he has a darker secret.
“I thought this grave would be the dark secret he wouldn’t want to admit to. My fight now is that he should never be considered for parole because if he doesn’t admit where she is, he’s far too dangerous a person to be allowed back into the community.
“He knows the perfect hiding place to hide a body, which makes him a danger.”
She said that the search for Helen is the one thing that keeps her going.
She said: “Obviously this has knocked me because I thought that after all the searches we have done she was going to be found.
“It seemed obvious – a grave that had just had a burial. And she was very close to home. Now I am left hoping that people out there, even prisoners who know him, will come forward.”
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