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Nora approached by stranger day before she disappeared - inquest

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Teenager Nora Quoirin with her mother, Meabh

Teenager Nora Quoirin with her mother, Meabh

Teenager Nora Quoirin with her mother, Meabh

Tragic Nora Quoirin was approached by a stranger at a Malaysian airport the day before she disappeared from a holiday resort, an inquest has heard.

The 15-year-old French-Irish schoolgirl, whose mother Meabh is from Belfast, went missing from her family's cottage at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on August 4 last year.

Her body was found on August 13 beside a stream in a palm oil estate about 2.5km away.

The teenager's funeral took place at St Brigid's Church in south Belfast, where she was baptised.

Yesterday, an inquest heard how her dad Sebastien had left Nora and her two younger siblings unaccompanied for less than five minutes at Kuala Lumpur international airport.

Mr Quoirin, who arrived in Malaysia on August 3 after flying from London with the children, had gone to meet their mother, who had flown in from Singapore following a business trip.

A police officer told the inquest Mr Quoirin and the children had waited at the airport for Mrs Quoirin to arrive.

When their father moved just 30 steps away to meet his wife at the arrival gate, Nora and her younger siblings, aged 12 and eight, were left alone briefly and subsequently approached by an unknown male.

Assistant Superintendent Chong Mee Chyi said that after Nora went missing, a family friend had received anonymous WhatsApp messages, saying they had been followed from the airport and that Nora was still alive.

Police seized CCTV footage from the airport to check if there had been any "criminal element".

"The siblings were left unattended for less than five minutes, and another camera captured the father welcoming the mother at the arrival gate a short distance away," the police officer told the inquest.

Ignored

"Another camera showed an unidentified individual walking up to the children, spending a couple of seconds with them.

"We investigated and the children told us the man whom they did not know said 'Hello' and wanted to know where they were from.

"He left after the children ignored him, as they were constantly trained not to entertain strangers."

The inquest also heard the tracking dog used in the search operation on the first day Nora was reported missing failed to detect any traces of the teenager because of health problems.

Sergeant Poo Kong San, from the Detective Dog Unit of the Negri Sembilan police, said the dog's ill-health may have affected its sense of smell.

Earlier in the inquest, Negeri Sembilan police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop said the investigation showed no criminal element.

He said there was no indication Nora was abducted and no ransom demand.

The inquest also previously heard that police believe Nora got out of a window, which had a faulty lock, and wandered off.

Asst Supt Chong Mee Chyi said that when the family checked in they had contacted management when they realised the window could not be closed securely.

Ms Chong said the family told her the resort took no action to repair it.

The officer earlier told the inquest that when she met the family the day after Nora was reported missing, her mother kept repeating: "I believe that my daughter is abducted."

Nora was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder that affects brain development.

Her family have always insisted it was unlikely that the teenager would have wandered off alone.

Hikers discovered Nora's body at the edge of a stream. The court heard she had starved to death.