Petition update

Update re: Helen’s Law

Marie Mccourt
Billinge, United Kingdom

Apr 15, 2016 — Thank you for supporting my campaign for Helen’s Law.

I was hoping that my next update would contain good news. I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t.

If you remember, on February 4 2016, I took my fight for Helen’s Law to the Ministry of Justice. I met with Victims Minister Mike Penning MP and presented my 320,000 strong petition to 10 Downing Street. (It is now more than 338,000).

I told you how heartened I was to learn that, as a direct result of my campaign, the Prisons Minister had asked the Parole Board to review their guidelines in cases of this nature.

Mr Penning also assured me that he would discuss my case with the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove and asked me write to him expressing my concerns in full.

On returning home, I wrote a heartfelt letter, posted it by special delivery to ensure it reached the House of Commons, then waited for a response.

More than two months on I am still waiting…

I have not even received an acknowledgement of my letter – let alone an assurance that its contents have been read and raised with Mr Gove. I have no idea if the Ministry of Justice has met with the Parole Board or if the guidelines have been reviewed as no-one has informed me.

Last week, I received a telephone call from my family liaison officer informing me that the Home Office had, indeed, approved the Parole Board’s recommendation that Simms be moved to an open prison.

The news has left me reeling. I feel upset, distraught and let down. I also feel an enormous sense of disbelief and despair that the Government has, in a stroke, chosen to disregard the voices of 338,000 people who are in favour of Helen’s Law.

I am also puzzled as to how the Home Office can approve this move – even though the Prisons Minister has asked the Parole Board to review its guidance in cases of this nature. Surely all cases that will be affected by this should be put on hold until this review is complete?

My ever-supportive MP Conor McGinn will be debating the issue in Parliament – but the earliest date he has been given is October. By then, it might be too late for me. Simms may well be a free man by then.

If you feel strongly (and I hope you still do) I am imploring you to help me to carry on fighting. I have written letters imploring for help but I cannot do this alone; I need the support of each and every one of you.

Please contact your MP and Mr Gove urging them to reserve their decision until after the parole guidelines have been reviewed and the matter has been discussed in Parliament. I hope you agree that another six months is not much to ask. (I have, after all, been living this nightmare for 29 years. And I estimate that there are approximately 50 other families in the UK living this torture every second of every day). You can find your MPs contact details on: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Please, also, let me take this opportunity to assure you that I am not a vindictive woman. All I want is for Simms – and every other killer who is currently perpetuating the torture for their victim’s family – to reveal the truth, end this agony and let us give our loved ones the dignified funeral they deserve.

I am not asking for murderers to be locked up forever. I am simply asking that they be denied parole for as long as they refuse to reveal where their victims are hidden.

Once again, I thank you from the bottom of your heart for your ongoing support. I can’t tell you how much it means.

God Bless you all

Marie McCourt


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