A pensioner has failed in a bid to persuade judges to order a review of a Parole Board decision to release a man convicted of murdering her 22-year-old daughter more than 30 years ago.
Marie McCourt, of Billinge, Merseyside, said former pub landlord Ian Simms should not be released from jail until he reveals where Helen McCourt’s body is hidden.
She said a November 2019 Parole Board decision to release Simms, now 64, on licence was wrong and should be reviewed.
Two judges ruled against her on Tuesday.
Virtual High Court
Lady Justice Macur and Mr Justice Chamberlain, who had considered Mrs McCourt’s judicial review application at a virtual High Court in July, decided that a Parole Board panel decision “involved no arguable public law error”.
They added, in a written ruling: “The panel were acutely aware of the sensitivities in this case and adopted a careful and balanced approach both to the procedure to be adopted and to the assessment of Simms’ current risk.”
The judges said they had decided to refuse to give Mrs McCourt, who is in her 70s, permission to apply for a judicial review.
They heard that Ms McCourt was murdered in Billinge in February 1988, while on her way home.
Simms was found guilty of her abduction and murder after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court in March 1989 and given a life sentence, with a minimum term of 16 years.
A Parole Board spokesman said, in a statement, after the ruling: “The Parole Board notes the decision of the court in the judicial review proceedings brought by Marie McCourt.
“The Parole Board has immense sympathy for families of victims who have never been found and recognises the pain and anguish they have endured.
“The Board remains absolutely committed to ensuring that victims and their families are treated with the utmost respect and dignity during the parole process and appreciates the distress that a parole review of the offender is likely to cause.
“The Parole Board is however required, by law to focus on whether a prisoner’s continued detention remains necessary for the protection of the public.”
Simms was released on licence early this year.
Since you are here
Since you are here, we wanted to ask for your help.
Journalism in Britain is under threat. The government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and our media is run by a handful of billionaires, most of whom reside overseas and all of them have strong political allegiances and financial motivations.
Our mission is to hold the powerful to account. It is vital that free media is allowed to exist to expose hypocrisy, corruption, wrongdoing and abuse of power. But we can't do it without you.
If you can afford to contribute a small donation to the site it will help us to continue our work in the best interests of the public. We only ask you to donate what you can afford, with an option to cancel your subscription at any point.
To donate or subscribe to The London Economic, click here.
The TLE shop is also now open, with all profits going to supporting our work.
The shop can be found here.
You can also SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER .