EXPERTS are searching Rixton Claypits in a bid to find the body of a young woman murdered more than 30 years ago.

Helen McCourt was killed as she made her way home from work one evening in 1988, but murderer Ian Simms has continually refused to reveal where the 22-year-old’s body lies.

Now mum Marie McCourt has launched a fresh search for the insurance clerk’s remains, with expert Peter Faulding currently carrying out a high-tech investigation at Rixton Claypits.

Detectives have long suspected that Simms buried Helen’s body in the nature reserve on Moat Lane, with a spade belonging to the pub landlord discovered at the claypits and several key pieces of evidence having been found nearby along the Manchester Ship Canal in Hollins Green.

Warrington Guardian: Ian Simms (55517781)

Ian Simms

Helen, from Billinge, disappeared on February 9 1988 after getting off a bus 200 yards away from her family home.

Her walk home took her past Simms’ George and Dragon pub.

Mr Faulding, head of Specialist Group International, will use radar equipment to search underground as well as metal detectors in the hope of finding Helen’s missing jewellery.

Marie has long campaigned for the introduction of Helen’s Law, which would see killers who do not reveal the location of their victims’ bodies refused parole.

Warrington Guardian:

Marie McCourt

The 76-year-old said: “Peter is helping me out in the area – we have been out a couple of times now searching, for two days on the trot.

“His equipment digs so far down and even sends up beeps if that area has been dug into, it’s a bit like dowsing but far more high-tech.

“Peter is a lovely man – I said I was really grateful to him, and he said ‘that’s what I like to do’.

“I know that she will never come home, but I’ll still carry on hoping to find her remains so I can bring them home and have them placed in our churchyard.

“She’ll have the blessing of the church, and her friends and work colleagues can come and place flowers on Helen’s grave.

“I can’t give up, she’s my child.”