MARIE McCourt has expressed anger after the chief executive of the Parole Board was made a CBE for services to victims.

The honour was given to Martin Jones, who has been in post since 2015, just days after an outcry over the Parole Board’s decision to release Colin Pitchfork, who raped and killed two schoolgirls in the 1980s in Leicestershire.

Ms McCourt, from Billinge whose 22-year-old insurance clerk daughter Helen vanished on her way home from work in 1988, said it was “very bad timing” for him to get the award given this week’s announcement of Pitchfork’s release.

Marie, 77, said: “I have no faith in the man” and added: “I am angry to hear that he has been given this when I believe that he is not the right man in that job.”

Helen's murderer, Ian Simms, was released last year, despite never saying where Helen's body had been hidden.

Comments made by Mr Jones, also a former Ministry of Justice (MoJ) head of sentencing, last year prompted some anger from campaigners for Helen’s Law – named after Helen McCourt.

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It seeks to make it harder for killers to get parole if they refuse to reveal where they hid their victim’s body.

He warned that killers who refuse to disclose where they have hidden their victim’s body could still be freed from jail despite the fresh legislation being introduced in a bid to deny them parole.

As part of efforts to avoid giving families false hope over the rules, he made clear that although prisoners will now be questioned and failure to co-operate may not work in their favour, the Parole Board must still release them if it is decided they are no longer a risk to the public.

But some feared the comments cast doubt on how effective the changes would be.

Pitchfork was the first man convicted of murder on the basis of DNA evidence and was jailed for life for strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

Some relatives of the victims, politicians and detectives involved in the case expressed concerns about Pitchfork’s release.

The Government is considering whether to challenge the decision.

Mr Jones is also celebrated in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his work on diversity and transparency within the parole process.

Parole Board hearings take place in private, normally in prisons, with victims and observers such as reporters being given limited access in rare circumstances.

But Mr Jones has backed plans for proceedings to take place in public amid efforts to overhaul the system and remove the secrecy surrounding the Parole Board’s work.

He has also welcomed the idea of Contempt of Court-like powers for parole hearings in a bid to limit delays.