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The Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Act 2020 becomes law

(Posted on 05/01/21)

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The Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Act 2020 becomes law

Laws have come into force this week in a bid to make it harder for killers to get parole if they refuse to reveal where they hid their victim’s body.

Also known as Helen’s Law, it was enacted just after midnight on Monday 4 January. 

Named after insurance clerk Helen McCourt, who vanished on her way home from work in 1988, the law will also apply to paedophiles who refuse to identify those they abused.

Ms McCourt’s murderer, Ian Simms, was released last year despite never saying where he hid her body.

As reported by PA News, her mother Marie McCourt spent five years calling for the legislation before it finally gained Royal Assent in November after a series of political and constitutional setbacks.

Under the law, killers could still be released if no longer deemed a risk to the public even if they refuse to disclose information. But the Parole Board will be legally required to consider whether they have co-operated with inquiries as part of their assessment.