Parole Board decides murderer Ian Simms should be released from prison

Helen McCourt’s murderer is set to be released from prison despite never revealing where he hid her body.

The Parole Board confirmed it is standing by its original decision to free Ian Simms after refusing the justice secretary’s request to keep him behind bars.

Helen’s mother Marie McCourt called on Robert Buckland to step in after the board decided Simms had met the test for release three decades after the 22-year-old went missing.

A Parole Board spokesman said: “The Parole Board has decided that the original decision to release Ian Simms should stand, after considering a reconsideration application from the Secretary of State.

“Whilst the Parole Board has every sympathy with Helen McCourt’s family, if the board is satisfied that imprisonment is no longer necessary for the protection of the public, they are legally obliged to direct release.”

Mr Buckland said: “The reconsideration of this case by a Parole Board judge is a process independent from Government but we are obviously disappointed with the outcome.

Ian Simms
Ian Simms (PA)

“I understand this will be extremely upsetting for the family of Helen McCourt and my heartfelt sympathies remain with them.

“Marie McCourt has told me and my predecessors repeatedly of the additional anguish experienced by her and others in similar situations.

“I hope Helen’s Law, which is now before Parliament, will serve as a lasting legacy to Helen and to the bravery of Marie and her family.”

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