- Justice Secretary sets out proposals amending the Parole Board release test
- Follows tireless campaigning efforts by the mother of murdered Helen McCourt
Murderers who refuse to disclose the location of a victim’s body may be denied parole under a new law set out by the Justice Secretary David Gauke.
Named after Helen McCourt – murdered in 1988 – whose killer has never revealed her whereabouts, ‘Helen’s law’ will place a legal duty on the Parole Board to reflect the failure to disclose the site of a victim’s remains when considering a prisoner’s suitability for release.
The move follows the unwavering campaign of Helen’s mother, Marie McCourt, to see the law changed and comes after recent meetings with her MP Conor McGinn and Justice Secretary David Gauke.
The government is acting to acknowledge the particular anguish faced by families who do not have the chance to lay their loved ones to rest, and will now consider the most suitable options to bring through legislation as soon as possible.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said:
It is a particular cruelty to deny grieving families the opportunity to lay their murdered loved one to rest, and I have immense sympathy with Marie McCourt and others in her situation.
‘Helen’s Law’ will mean that the Parole Board must consider this cruelty when reviewing an offender’s suitability for release – which could see them facing longer behind bars.
The profound grief inflicted on families and friends of the murdered is incalculable. Those responsible should know that if they choose to compound this further through their behaviour, they will be held accountable.