No body found in McCourt hunt

Merseyside Police have confirmed that a body found after carrying out an exhumation at St Aidan’s Church, Billinge, is not that of Helen McCourt who was murdered in February 1988.

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Police: remains in grave not Helen McCourt

Police say they have not found the remains of murder victim Helen McCourt in a graveyard in St Helens.

A police statement said:

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, 15 October 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.

– Merseyside Police spokesperson

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Police exhume body in search for 1988 murder victim

Helen McCourt

Merseyside Police are carrying out an exhumation at St Aidan’s Church, Billinge after receiving intelligence, linked to the disappearance and murder of Helen McCourt in February 1988.

Authority to carry out the exhumation has been 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.

Det Chief Supt Tim Keelan, said:

"It is 25 years since Helen McCourt went missing in February 1988. Ian Simms was convicted of her murder in 1989.

But sadly for the family their suffering has been made worse over the years due to the fact that Helen's body has never been found and they have been denied the opportunity to give her a proper burial.

"We are acting on information suggesting that Helen's body could have been placed in this particular grave, and with the agreement of the family who own this grave and following approval from the relevant authorities we are now seeking to determine if this is the case."

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