Parole Board Asked to Reconsider Decision to Release Killer of Helen McCourt
James Thacker and Tom Rainsbury represent Marie McCourt, the mother of Helen who was murdered by Ian Simms on 9th February 1988. This was one of the first cases to be prosecuted that relied on DNA and without a body. On 21st November 2019, following a hearing held entirely in private, the Parole Board directed Ian Simms to be released on life licence despite the fact that he continues to deny the offence and refuses to reveal the location of Helen’s remains.
James and Tom with the assistance of Clare Woodland from Thompson’s solicitors immediately drafted written representations to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice who has, pursuant to the Parole Board Rules, the right to apply to the Parole Board for reconsideration of its decision. Robert Buckland QC MP, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State, has today announced that he has applied to the Parole Board to reconsider their decision to release Ian Simms on life licence.
Marie has tirelessly campaigned for ‘Helen’s Law’ which would require the Parole Board to consider the failure of the prisoner to reveal the location of the victim’s remains. On 14th October 2019, the Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech however Parliament was dissolved prior to the bill receiving royal assent.