Killers who refuse to reveal where they disposed of victims’ bodies could be jailed indefinitely under a new law.
Justice Secretary David Gauke has told Marie McCourt, 75, whose daughter Helen’s body was never found after she was murdered in 1988, his team are preparing legislation.
“Helen’s Law” would give the parole board more powers to refuse release applications from “no body” killers.
After meeting Mr Gauke on Wednesday, Marie said: “This is a huge step forward for the campaign which has been supported by so many people.”
Marie launched her drive in 2015, when it was revealed Helen’s killer Ian Simms was being moved to an open prison. She hopes the law will be passed in time to stop his release.
Marie said: “This is not just for Helen but for every single missing murder victim out there and their families. The tide is finally turning towards supporting victims rather than the rights of criminals.
“Seeing a new law unveiled in Helen’s name will be a very proud, poignant moment. Her death, and all this pain, would count for something and make a difference.”
Earlier this year, Simms got leave to spend days away from HMP Leyhill open prison, suggesting he is close to release. Marie, of Billinge, Merseyside, said: “This legislation may be introduced in time to keep Simms in prison and prompt him to reveal where Helen can be found.
We live in hope. Losing a child is the most painful thing a parent can endure. But knowing your loved one is out there, somewhere, alone, is like an open wound that never heals.”
During the talks at Parliament, Marie handed Mr Gauke Tuesday’s Mirror, which featured the case of grieving Sheila Dolton, 67, who has spent 17 years searching woods across the Home Counties for the remains of her missing son Jonathan.
Marie said: “I told David Gauke, ‘Like myself, this is a mother searching for the body of her murdered child years after they were killed.
You can empathise and sympathise but you will never know how tortuous this is until you live through it yourself.’”
Under current rules the parole board is only subject to guidelines when dealing with release applications from “no body” killers.
Marie said: “Now, they will be bound by law to consider the terrible toll that crimes like these take on innocent families.”
Marie and her husband John Sandwell, 71, were joined at the meeting by their MP Conor McGinn, Labour for St Helens North, who has supported the campaign.
He said: “The Government must now match their sentiments with action.