French-Irish teen’s Malaysia death ruled ‘misadventure’

The family of a London schoolgirl found dead during a holiday in a Malaysian jungle said they were ‘utterly disappointed’ in a coroner’s verdict of death through misadventure.

Nora Quoirin, 15, was discovered dead nine days after she went missing from the resort in August 2019.

Her family said testimony during the inquest in the south-east Asian state showed she was abducted, and branded Monday’s official findings ‘incomplete’.

Their statement added: ‘Once again we see that justice struggles to support the most vulnerable in society – only engaging with special needs at a surface level – and not at the level that truly reflects children like Nora.’ 

The body of Nora Quoirin was discovered after a hunt through the rainforest following her disappearance from a resort outside Kuala Lumpur in 2019

The body of Nora Quoirin was discovered after a hunt through the rainforest following her disappearance from a resort outside Kuala Lumpur in 2019

The body of Nora Quoirin was discovered after a hunt through the rainforest following her disappearance from a resort outside Kuala Lumpur in 2019

Nora's mother Meabh, pictured with Malaysian police, had thought she was abducted, saying the teen would never have climbed out of the window of the chalet where they were staying in the dead of night, as authorities believe

Nora's mother Meabh, pictured with Malaysian police, had thought she was abducted, saying the teen would never have climbed out of the window of the chalet where they were staying in the dead of night, as authorities believe

Nora’s mother Meabh, pictured with Malaysian police, had thought she was abducted, saying the teen would never have climbed out of the window of the chalet where they were staying in the dead of night, as authorities believe

Quoirin died after ‘getting lost in an abandoned palm oil plantation,’ a Malaysian coroner said, ruling out murder or sexual assault.

Nora Quoirin’s body was discovered after a massive hunt through the rainforest of Kuala Lumpur in 2019.

Police insisted there was no foul play and an autopsy conducted in Malaysia found that she probably starved and died of internal bleeding after days in the jungle.

Her family added: ‘We believe we have fought not just for Nora but in honour of all the special needs children in this world who deserve our most committed support and the most careful application of justice.

‘This is Nora’s unique legacy and we will never let it go.’

Her relatives recognised there was no physical evidence to aid the coroner.

Her family added: 'We believe we have fought not just for Nora but in honour of all the special needs children in this world who deserve our most committed support and the most careful application of justice.' File image of Meabh Quoirin above

Her family added: 'We believe we have fought not just for Nora but in honour of all the special needs children in this world who deserve our most committed support and the most careful application of justice.' File image of Meabh Quoirin above

Her family added: ‘We believe we have fought not just for Nora but in honour of all the special needs children in this world who deserve our most committed support and the most careful application of justice.’ File image of Meabh Quoirin above 

‘Nonetheless, we are utterly disappointed by the coroner’s verdict of misadventure.

‘We witnessed 80 slides presented to the court today, none of which engaged with who Nora really was – neither her personality nor her intellectual abilities.

‘The verdict focused exclusively on physical evidence and physical mobility – which we believe, presents a very incomplete/select theory on how Nora came about her death.’ 

The charity for British nationals in crisis overseas, LBT Global, has been supporting the family since her disappearance and continues to do so.

Chief executive Matthew Searle said: ‘This is a hugely disappointing day for the family.

‘It is clear that Nora could not have physically carried out the movements suggested.

‘It is crucial that to deliver a comprehensive verdict the coroner would have to have fully taken into account Nora’s condition – that they did so is not immediately apparent.

‘We will support the family tirelessly as they move forward.’

Watching proceedings online, Nora’s mother bowed her head as the verdict was delivered, with the coroner also saying there was no sign the 15-year-old was murdered or sexually assaulted. 

Her family said testimony during the inquest in the south-east Asian state showed she was abducted, and branded Monday’s official findings ‘incomplete’. 

Her parents thought she was abducted, saying the teen would never have climbed out of the window of the chalet where they were staying in the dead of night, as authorities believe. 

However, following an inquest in Malaysia, Coroner Maimoonah Aid ruled she died by ‘misadventure’.

Nora Quoirin's body was discovered after a massive hunt through the rainforest of Kuala Lumpur in 2019

Nora Quoirin's body was discovered after a massive hunt through the rainforest of Kuala Lumpur in 2019

Nora Quoirin’s body was discovered after a massive hunt through the rainforest of Kuala Lumpur in 2019

‘After hearing all the relevant evidence, I rule that there was no one involved in the death of Nora Anne,’ she told a court in the city of Seremban.

‘It is more probable than not that she died by misadventure.’

The teen likely left the family accommodation ‘on her own and subsequently got lost,’ she said, handing down her ruling online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The schoolgirl’s body was found in a stream in the jungle near the resort after a 10-day hunt that included hundreds of rescuers, helicopters and sniffer dogs.

The coroner took two hours to deliver the verdict, going through the testimony from over 40 witnesses that was presented during the inquest from late August to December.

As well as saying there was no evidence to support the theories of homicide or sexual assault, she decided against an ‘open verdict’ — something which the teen’s family had pushed for.

Instead, Maimoonah focused on the fact the family were likely exhausted after a long journey from Britain and activities at the Dusun resort on the day of their arrival in August, 2019.

‘The family (were) all jet-lagged and tired,’ she said. 

‘Nora Anne had also shown her level of tiredness increase.’

Members of a rescue team are seen behind a police line at the Dusun Resort in Seremban on August 13, 2019

Members of a rescue team are seen behind a police line at the Dusun Resort in Seremban on August 13, 2019

Members of a rescue team are seen behind a police line at the Dusun Resort in Seremban on August 13, 2019

Nora disappeared near the Duson Resort, just outside of Kuala Lumpur, in August 2019

Nora disappeared near the Duson Resort, just outside of Kuala Lumpur, in August 2019

Nora disappeared near the Duson Resort, just outside of Kuala Lumpur, in August 2019

This made it likely that the teen, in a ‘strange and new place’, had wandered out of the London-based family’s accommodation of her own accord on their first night at the resort, she said.

Maimoonah also noted the teenager’s mother said that she was capable of climbing stairs on her own, suggesting she could have got out of their chalet by herself.

During the inquest, the teen’s parents said they heard mysterious ‘muffled noises’ coming from the accommodation the night of the schoolgirl’s disappearance, fuelling their belief she was snatched.

In their testimony, police had reiterated their view the teen had wandered off alone and defended their approach, insisting a thorough search was conducted.

But her parents, who testified via video-link from Britain, painted a different picture, strongly criticising authorities for their response to their daughter’s disappearance.

The five-hectare (12-acre) resort is next to a patch of thick jungle and in the foothills of a mountain range.

The teen had a condition known as holoprosencephaly, where the brain fails to develop normally. She had limited verbal communication and could only write a few words.

She attended a school for young people with learning difficulties.

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