Thursday 23 January 2020

'We need an inquest to prove there was a criminal element to Nora's death' - mum

Nora Quoirin disappeared while on a family holiday in Malaysia. Her body was found 10 days later after a massive search. Photo: PA
Nora Quoirin disappeared while on a family holiday in Malaysia. Her body was found 10 days later after a massive search. Photo: PA

The heartbroken parents of Nora Quoirin are demanding an inquest into the disappearance and subsequent death of their daughter in a Malaysian jungle earlier this year.

In their first interview since the 15-year-old special needs student disappeared while on a family holiday in August, Meabh Quoirin and her French husband Sebastien said they still believe there was a "criminal element" to her death.

Despite a massive search of the area near the Dusun rainforest resort, Nora's barefoot, naked body was found in the jungle on August 13 - 10 days after she disappeared.

Malaysian authorities said a post-mortem found she died of intestinal bleeding, probably due to hunger and stress. They said there were no signs of assault or foul play.

However, Nora's parents said they are still waiting to see the full autopsy results from the Malaysian authorities as well as another post-mortem conducted in London.

In the meantime, they told RTE's Six One News last night it is their fundamental "human right" for the Malaysian authorities to hold an inquest into Nora's death.

"We are determined to have this inquest. We're hopeful that the French, the Irish and British governments will support us," Mr Quoirin said.

"I think it's a basic human right and democratic duty to find some truth and justice to what happened."


His wife, who is from Belfast, added: "While a post-mortem when it comes through may give us answers, and has already given us some basic answers around what caused Nora's death, it doesn't explain any of how she could possibly have got to where she was found."

Mr Quoirin also revealed that he was the first person to be told that a body had been found in the search for his daughter.

Special needs student Nora with her mother Meabh
Special needs student Nora with her mother Meabh

"It's something no person should experience," he said.

He added that it was "absurd" to believe Nora had simply disappeared in the middle of the night, without any shoes or clothes on, to wander alone in the jungle.

A rare congenital disorder left Nora with cognitive and developmental delays which meant she struggled to walk and balance normally.

She was also very shy and would not venture beyond the family's front door on her own, let alone wander off into a jungle, Ms Quoirin said.

She added that it would have been "impossible physically, mentally to imagine that she could have got any distance at all", after she disappeared from a bedroom where the couple's two other children were sleeping.

Mr Quoirin said he knew something "potentially serious" had happened when he went to check on the children at around 8am the day after they arrived at the resort and found Nora was missing.

"For us, something very complex happened," said Ms Quoirin. "We have insisted from the beginning that we believe there was a criminal element to what happened.


"Crucially, we're struggling because it was difficult to get resources in place fast enough to investigate a criminal angle."

The couple said they still consider themselves to be a "family of five" and believe Nora is with them in spirit.

However, they said the trauma of her death will never leave them.

"I think we will be living with the horror of what happened in Malaysia for the rest of our lives," said Ms Quoirin.

"We will carry Nora with us for ever. She's with us here every day.

"I talk to her every day. She holds my hand. We hear her, we see her in all that we do at home."

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