herald

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Nora was alive for six days before she died of starvation in the jungle

Tragic teenager Nora Quoirin
Tragic teenager Nora Quoirin

Tragic Irish teenager Nora Quoirin died of hunger and internal bleeding after wandering alone for six days in the jungle.

Her devastated family has been coming to terms with a post-mortem report which revealed the 15-year-old died just four days before she was found.

However, they have expressed reservations over the results.

French lawyer Charles Morel, representing Nora's parents Sebastien Meabh, said the results were being treated with caution by Nora's bereaved family.

It was revealed the girl was not sexually assaulted and died from intestinal bleeding due to stress and starvation about six days after she went missing on August 4.

Negeri Sembilan State Police Chief Mohamad Mat Yusop speaks during a news conference
Negeri Sembilan State Police Chief Mohamad Mat Yusop speaks during a news conference

Her naked body was discovered close to a waterfall about 2km from the jungle resort of Dusun, on Tuesday, 10 days after she vanished without trace from a chalet where her family was staying on holiday.

She was found with her head lying on her hands as if she was sleeping.

However, the fact that the area where Nora was found had been searched previously during the massive search operation involving more than 350 people, including sniffer dogs, raises questions.

The family has been adamant that the teenager, who had special needs, would never venture from her family on her own.

Mr Morel told RTE Radio's Today With Miriam O'Callaghan the family still "cannot understand" how she left of her own volition and they had not excluded any theories as to what happened to her, including possible foul play.

Nora's French grandfather Sylvain Quoirin told an Irish newspaper he believed the discovery of Nora's body by the waterfall was staged.

"She wasn't there during previous searches. Someone put her there, to get rid of her," Mr Quoirin said.

"Can you imagine her walking 2.5km, naked and barefoot, over rocks, in the middle of the night? For me, that's absurd," Mr Quoirin said.

He said there remain "dark areas that need to be cleared up for the family to be able to grieve in peace".

Mr Morel said the family was also keen to obtain toxicology results that may shed some more light on Nora's disappearance.

Negeri Sembilan state police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop said the post-mortem found no evidence Nora had been abducted or raped.

"For the time being, there is no element of abduction or kidnapping," he said yesterday.

"The cause of death was upper gastrointestinal bleeding due to duodenal ulcer, complicated with perforation… it could be due to a lack of food for a long period of time and due to prolonged stress."

He added there were some bruises on her legs but they were not linked with the cause of her death.

Meanwhile, the Paris prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation into kidnapping as a possible cause of the teenager's disappearance.

Mourners

It is not uncommon for French authorities to investigate the deaths of their citizens abroad. However, a spokesman for the garda press office said gardai would not follow suit as they do not have the authority to do so in another jurisdiction.

Malaysian police have said they do not believe foul play was involved in Nora's case but have not ruled it out.

A steady stream of mourners have paid their respects to Nora and her family at Belfast City Hall, where books of condolence have been opened.

A special public mass was also being held at the Quoirins' home parish in south London last night.

A large gathering was expected to attend the service at St Bede's Church in Clapham Park where Nora had her First Communion.

Parish priest Fr Marcus Holden said members of the Quoirin family were active members of the church and Nora was much-loved and highly regarded.

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