IAN Simms, the man convicted of the murder of Helen McCourt, will face a parole hearing today, but he has still not revealed the whereabouts of her body.

Pub landlord Ian Simms abducted and murdered insurance clerk Helen McCourt, 22, from Billinge on her way home from work in February 1988.

He denied being responsible but a jury at Liverpool Crown Court convicted him amid overwhelming DNA evidence, despite Helen’s body never being found.

He was jailed for life and told he would have to serve at least 16 years before he could be considered for parole.

Helen’s mum Marie has spent four years fighting for a law change calling for killers who do not reveal the whereabouts of their victims bodies to not be eligible for parole.

In May it was announced that the law and this month it was even mentioned in the Queen’s Speech, but due to government delays it is now only expected to be made law for spring 2020.

Simms’ parole hearing is taking place today Thursday, November 7, Marie is to give evidence at his hearing, but has begged the Parole Board to keep him behind bars while he refuses to reveal where he hid Helen's body.

St Helens Star:

Marie McCourt

Helen's mum Marie said: “Every parole hearing relating to this man is distressing - but this one is particularly so.

"Simms has never come this close to being released - while Helen's Law is so close to being added to the statute books.

"This man not only took my daughter's life but has perpetuated the agony by refusing to say where he hid her body.

"Reading my victim statement aloud is a reminder that the pain is as raw now as it was more than 31 years ago when my daughter was murdered - but I have to do this for Helen.

"Until Simms faces up to what he has done and admits his guilt, he will never get the help he needs.

"I pray that the parole judges listen to my plight, make the right decision and keep Simms locked up until he reveals where we can find Helen, bring her home and lay her to rest."

St Helens Star:

Ian Simms

Helen's Law would make it a legal requirement for the Parole Board to take into account a killer's failure to disclose the location of their victim's remains when considering them for release.

It was one of the first pieces of legislation introduced in the new parliamentary session and would also apply to paedophiles who take indecent images of children but refuse to disclose their identity.

But it only comes into force if it is passed by Parliament and receives Royal Assent, but it only made its early stages of being considered by MPs before it the General Election was announced on December 12, meaning any Bills not yet passed are scrapped or have to start afresh if the next government still wants to bring them into force.

Mrs McCourt said she "couldn't even put words to it" if the general election meant all her efforts were knocked back again, having already endured such delays when Theresa May announced an election in 2017 and because of Brexit.

St Helens Star:

Ian Simms back in 1988

A Parole Board spokesman said: "The Parole Board will consider a range of evidence before making its decision.

"This will be done with great care and with public safety the number one priority."

St Helens North MP Conor McGinn has written to the Justice Secretary about the matter.

He said: “I completely oppose the release of Ian Simms or any other murderer who refuses to give information about the location of their victims remains.

“I have spoken personally to the Justice Secretary expressing my views on what I believe are the thoughts of millions of people across the country and also that of the McCourt family.

“This man should never be released.”

Marie is also carrying out open land searches to try and find Helen and has had the help of Peter Faulding, a search expert who has studied the case.