MARIE McCourt is calling for help from the public to pay for legal action to keep her daughter's killer behind bars.

Ian Simms was jailed 32 years ago for the murder of 22-year-old Helen McCourt from Billinge.

Despite her body never being recovered, he was jailed due to overwhelming DNA evidence.

Helen's mum Marie has fought for four years to bring in a law calling for killers who do not reveal the location of their victim's bodies to not be eligible for parole.

It has been mentioned in the Queen's Speech twice and is scheduled to become law this year.

However, in November it was announced that a parole board hearing decided to release Simms, before the law could be written into statute.

After an appeal to the Parole Board to reconsider its decision, it was announced on Wednesday that the board is standing by its original decision to free Simms, despite a reuest from Justice Secretary Robert Buckland.

Marie and the McCourt family are now looking to take this fight to the High Court, but need help to raise the funds to pay for this.

Announcing the news, Marie McCourt, 74, said: "I am instructing my legal team to prepare a judicial review of this decision in the High Court.

“Being able to bury a murdered love one is a basic human right – and I am taking this stand in the interest of the public.

“I truly believe that justice can only be served when families of missing murder victims are treated with respect and compassion and the public are protected from dangerous killers who refuse to show remorse for their actions.

"We need to acknowledge and prevent the significant anguish that innocent families of murder victims continue to experience.

"I am also calling for greater transparency and victim participation in parole proceedings.

“Your help in bringing this action is hugely appreciated.

“All money raised will go towards legal costs I may incur as a result of court action.

"Any unused money will be placed into a fund to support future legal action by other families of the missing murdered.

"This is my last chance to bring Helen home.

"Thank you for your support.”

In his findings, Parole Board chairman Sir David Calvert-Smith, a former director of public prosecutions and retired judge who reviewed the request, said it was "impossible" to characterise the decision as "irrational" so the application was refused.

Simms will not be released immediately and it could take weeks to arrange and may be dependent on whether campaigners launch legal action against the ruling.

The original decision came after Mrs McCourt's campaign to keep killers behind bars until they lead police to a victim's body, dubbed Helen's Law, failed to be ratified before Parliament on numerous occasions - twice being delayed because of general elections.

St Helens North MP Conor McGinn has lent his support to the McCourt family on their decision to challenge the ruling.

He said: "I fully support Marie McCourt and her family in challenging this decision in the courts.

"Releasing a convicted murderer who still refuses to give information about the location of his victim’s remains is an affront to common decency, and will appal millions of people across the country.

"I’m working with the Government to urgently progress Helen’s Law, so that other families will hopefully not be faced with the same heartbreak and devastation as the McCourt's have been this week.”

To donate towards the High Court battle cost, go to gofundme.com/f/justiceforhelenmccourt