'Killers who refuse to say where victims' are buried should never be released', MP says

Helen McCourt's killer has never revealed where her body is located. Credit: PA/PA Archive

Killers who refuse to reveal where their victims' bodies are located should never be released from prison, a Labour MP is arguing.

Conor McGinn wants a change in the law to deny killers who withhold that information the chance of freedom, and he will urge MPs to back his stance in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Mr McGinn said the change was needed to stop victims' families being "dropped into hell" by not knowing where their family member has been buried.

McGinn's 'Unlawful Killing (Recovery of Remains) Bill' will be brought forward under a Ten Minute Rule motion, meaning it is unlikely to proceed without Government support.

But it comes after the campaign for a 'Helen's Law' reached more than 343,000 signatures on change.org.

It is named after murder victim Helen McCourt, who was abducted and killed by Ian Simms in 1988 near Billinge, near Wigan.

Helen McCourt's killer, Ian Simms, has never revealed where her body is located. Credit: PA/PA Archive

Simms, a former pub landlord, was convicted by overwhelming DNA evidence of the murder.

But he never admitted what he did or disclosed the whereabouts of the 22 year-old's remains. His victim's mother, Marie McCourt, has since campaigned for a change in parole terms.

Simms' application for release from prison has been turned down but the Parole Board in February recommended that he be transferred to an open prison.

Ahead of the Commons debate, Ms McCourt said the pain of her daughter's murder will "never ease until I can give her the dignity of a funeral".

The 73-year-old will be joined in the Commons public gallery by at least five other affected families, including 48 year-old Sam Gillingham of Northamptonshire, whose search for the body of her murdered mother, Carole Packman, was the subject of a recent ITV documentary.

Also present will be the families of victims Jane Harrison, Jonathan Dolton, Michelle Gunshon and Paul Morson.

Labour MP Conor McGinn is arguing for a change in parole laws. Credit: Jonathan Brady/ PA Archive

Mr McGinn said: "This proposed law has been already been introduced in some parts of Australia and there is no reason why it could not operate successfully here.

"Helen's Law has huge public support.

"More than 340,000 people have already signed a petition backing Helen's Law and the number is growing by the day.

"No one should be forced to endure the anguish that Marie McCourt and her family and the relatives of other victims have suffered.

"They have already felt the pain of having a loved one murdered."To add to their grief, they have been denied the chance to hold a proper funeral.

"Helen's Law will hopefully go some way towards helping put right the terrible wrong that has been inflicted on them."