The disappearance of Helen McCourt: Where did pub Landlord bury/dispose of her body and what was the motive for his crime of suspected murder?
Ian Simms escorted by police during his trial for the murder of Helen McCourt in 1988.
Helen McCourt (29 July 1965 – c. 9 February 1988) was a 22-year-old insurance clerk from Lancashire (now Merseyside), England, who disappeared on 9 February 1988 in the town of Billinge, Metropolitan Borough of St Helens, Merseyside, shortly after getting off a bus less than five hundred yards from her home.
Her body has never been found. Ian Simms, a local pub landlord, was subsequently charged with and convicted of her murder. The case is a rare example where a murder conviction has been obtained without the presence of a body, and was one of the first in the UK to use DNA fingerprinting.
Helen McCourt spoke with her mother by telephone before 4:00 pm on 9 February 1988, shortly before she was due to leave work. She was planning to go out for the evening with her new boyfriend and wanted her tea ready earlier so she had time to wash her hair. Two days before her disappearance, Helen had been involved in a heated argument with a woman in the George and Dragon pub, the landlord was Ian Simms (aged 31 at the time – a married man with two small children).
After the argument, Simms had banned Helen from the pub and, according to several customers, had used obscene language about her and said how much he "hated" her. He had made sexual advances to her which she had rejected, and he also believed she knew about his affair with his 21-year-old mistress and was gossiping about it.
Murder victim Helen McCourt, 22, who disappeared in 1988. Her body has never been found.
Helen alighted from her bus around 5:30 pm and set off on the short journey home, a route that took her past the pub. Within minutes, a man getting off another bus heard a loud scream coming from the pub that was cut short. Helen McCourt has never been seen or heard from since that night.
While being questioned by police, Simms came under suspicion when he became extremely nervous. His car was impounded, and forensic scientists found traces of Helen's blood: spots of blood on the rubber sill of the boot and a bloodstain on the boot carpet. In the boot they also found an opal and pearl earring, later identified by Marie McCourt as one of a pair Helen had been given for her 21st birthday; she had been wearing the earrings on the day she vanished. Traces of her blood were also found in Simm's flat: on the carpet at the foot of the stairs leading to his apartment, on a bedroom carpet in his flat, on wallpaper in the bedroom, and splashed on wallpaper next to the outside door to Simm's accommodation, where police believe she was first attacked.
In March, Helen's handbag, taupe coat, maroon scarf, navy trousers and green mittens were found on a riverbank in Irlam, about 20 miles away, in a black binliner proved to have been taken from a roll of them in Simms's pub. Her brand new trousers, worn for the first time on the morning of her disappearance, had fibres on them from the stair carpet, landing carpet and bedroom carpet of Simms' flat, indicating she was dragged upstairs after being attacked by him (a witness working in the pub's restaurant testified she heard dragging noises from above her during the time of the murder). Also found with her clothing was a length of electrical flex. This was similar to other lengths of flex found in Simm's flat, which he used in playing with his two dogs. The flex found at Irlam had dog toothmarks on it that were matched to Simm's dogs; it also had strands of human hair adhering to it that were matched to hairs from Helen McCourt's hair rollers. Police believe the flex was used to strangle her.
Simms claims he was framed and hopes his chance of parole will give him his freedom back but it has been rejected on previous occasions and he will not admit his guilt in this crime and says he was set up. but who by then? if the killler wasn't him then who was it? i wish we could find out more about this case because I did hear a theory that Simms had access to an incinerator at Billinge Hospital to dispose of the body, but surely people would have seen him and i find this a little far fetched. or is it? and to carry all this out while running a pub/restaurant at the same time? what is the truth to this case? the full story.
1) what do you think happened in the pub between Helen and Simms? (she had been a bar maid at the pub the previous year but left) why did she return to the pub to talk with Simms if she was so eager to get home and prepare herself for a date with her new boyfriend? was it really over an affair or was Simm's jealous? and if so did the mistress/wife of Simms ever notice any violent behaviour during the marriage/affair? why did he strike out at Helen apart from "hating" her so much?
2) do you think Simms was framed and if so, who by and why? i heard a theory that Simms knows who did it (drugs related) but will not disclose this because it will put his wife and children in danger. how true do you think this theory is?
3) what do you think the killer did with Helen's body and do you think he has ever shared this with anyone else? do you think the use of an incinerator would wipe the body completely out of existence without sounding harsh here?
Overall, i think Simms is guilty but i also think that someone knows more about this case and it's not fair that Helen's family have never been given chance to give her a proper burial. i would like to see a resolve for this family before the end of Simm's life and Helen's mother's.http://www.wigantoday.net/news/local/the-murder-of-helen-mccourt-how-the-terrible-events-unfolded-1-7715038http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/helen-mccourt-simms-killer-prison-10831854