Saturday 21 September 2019

Nora family 'has right to a new post-mortem if they wish' - minister

Nora Quoirin and her distraught mum Meabh before she died
Nora Quoirin and her distraught mum Meabh before she died

The grieving family of Nora Quoirin is entitled to a second post-mortem if they so desire, a senior Malaysian cabinet minister confirmed last night.

The initial post-mortem revealed the 15-year-old died from gastrointestinal bleeding brought about by stress and starvation while she was missing in the rainforest.

However, deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said that while he has full confidence in the first examination, the family is welcome to a second opinion by a pathologist.

"It is their right. We are confident in the professionalism of our pathologists. Our confidence is not shaken," the minister told a Malaysian newspaper yesterday.

A post-mortem conducted on August 14 by Kuala Lumpur Hospital pathologists found the teenager, who had special needs, had died from internal bleeding after going missing in the jungle for 10 days.

Abducted

It is believed she died around the sixth day after she vanished from the Dusun eco-resort on August 4, on the first morning of a family holiday.

While Malaysian authorities believe that foul play was not a factor in Nora's death, her family has insisted throughout the ordeal that she was abducted.

They have repeatedly said that Nora, who was born with the congenital brain defect holoprosencephaly, did not have the physical or mental capacity to wander off on her own.

Despite this, her naked body was found close to a stream near the Lata Berembun waterfall just over 2km from the eco-resort.

The area had been previously searched during a massive operation involving more than 350 searchers as well as sniffer dogs.

However, the discovery of Nora - found lying with her head on her hands as if she was asleep - was not made until the 10th day of the search.

The family's solicitor Charles Morel told the Herald that "there's no possible definitive conclusion with the first result".

"We're waiting for toxicological analysis and pathological tests. The family wants to know the truth and it's not possible to exclude the criminal [involvement] yet," he said.

Meanwhile, Nora's body was collected from the mortuary at Tuanku Jaafar Hospital on Saturday and brought under police escort to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Her parents Meabh, from Belfast, and French father Sebastien did not accompany Nora on her final journey, according to media reports yesterday.

A spokesman for the Lucie Blackman Trust - which is acting as a liaison between the Quoirin family and the media and is organising the repatriation of Nora's body - is not disclosing details of the repatriation or funeral arrangements.

However, the family issued a statement last week confirming they will be bringing her body home "where she will finally be laid to rest, close to her loving families in France and Ireland".

In the meantime, they are hoping that DNA and toxicology tests will shed some light on Nora's bizarre disappearance and subsequent death.

On Friday, the Quoirins said they needed "more answers to our many questions".

Speculation

The family is expected to make a statement in the coming days on the police investigation by Malaysian security officials.

The Lucie Blackman Trust issued a statement on Saturday urging an end to what it termed "public speculation".

"Ongoing investigations in France will remain under way as is standard practice in overseas cases involving French citizens," the trust tweeted on Saturday.

"While investigations are under way, we continue to urge an end to public speculation.

"The police hotline remains open and the family are still seeking any information from the public that can help provide clarity on the events of the last 10 days."

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