As news surfaces that Ian Simms, the man who killed Helen McCourt, is to be released on parole after more than 30 years in prison, we wonder whether he will be subject to compulsory lie detector tests.
As many of our readers know, some sex offenders released on probation can be obliged to take periodic lie detector tests, as well as some domestic abusers. If deception is found and further investigation proves they have broken the conditions of their licence, they may be returned to prison.
Who is Ian Simms?
In 1988, Ian Simms was the landlord of the George and Dragon Public House in Billinge, Merseyside. The pub has since changed its name to the Billinge Arms. Married with 2 children Simms was 31 and it is alleged that he hated Helen McCourt because she had rejected sexual advances he’d made toward her. At the time, Simms was having an affair with a woman 10 years his junior. He thought that Helen was aware of this and was gossiping about it.
Helen vanished 2 days after she’d been banned from the pub having had a heated altercation in it with a woman. Witnesses stated that Simms had uttered obscenities about Helen McCourt and told them he hated her.
The full story of events leading up to Helen’s disappearance and subsequent prosecution of Simms for her murder can be found on this Wikipedia link.
What makes Simms’s case different from other murder convictions of the era was that DNA the prosecution relied on DNA evidence in the absence of a body. DNA and genetic fingerprinting were relatively new sciences having first been used in a UK criminal investigation in 1986.
Helen McCourt’s family campaigned for many years to change the law so that a convicted murderer could not be released from prison, without first disclosing the whereabouts of the body of the victim. This law was scheduled for debate but due to the last general election being called, parliament was dissolved before this could be done. Had the law been passed, Simms would not be released. Naturally this has greatly disappointed her family.
Despite the intervention of Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, who contacted the Parole Board requesting they reassess the decision to release Simms, his release will go ahead. As far as the Parole Board is concerned, Simms no longer poses a threat to the public.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Simms has never admitted to killing Helen McCourt.
Helen McCourt lie detector test
For Helen McCourt’s family who are considering their legal options once again, we have a suggestion. It is within the power of the Ministry of Justice to impose conditions on Simms when he is released. If those conditions included mandatory periodic lie detector tests there are questions that can be asked which may lead to discovery of the body.
The polygraph is an investigatory tool and any deception found in Simms’s responses would lead to further investigation. We urge Marie McCourt, Helen’s mother, to pursue this matter with her legal team or to call us for advice. Our free helpline is 0800 368 8277. We are happy to help in any way we can to bring some closure to the family.