Parliament returned this week to debate matters of local and global importance such as Neighbourhood Planning, Syria and Brexit. The Unlawful Killing (Recovery of Remains) Bill– or Helen’s Law –perhaps got less attention. I put my name to the Bill because I believe it’s an important measure which has widespread public support.
Helen McCourt was just 22 when she was murdered by Ian Simms in 1988. Her body was never found. Simms was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 16 years. It was only the third trial in Britain since the Second World War without a body. The conviction was secured on overwhelming DNA evidence.
To this day however Simms has refused to reveal how he disposed of Helen’s body or where her remains are. As the law stands murderers do not have to show any remorse or compassion by revealing where their victims are. The decision for release on parole is that they are unlikely to commit further crime or be a danger to the public.
This Bill would change the law by denying parole to those who refuse to cooperate with the Police regarding the location of their victims.
We debate the great issues of the day in Parliament but it’s equally important to remember the very human stories and the simple rights of people like being able to bury a loved one. I very much hope Helen’s Law passes and makes a difference.