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Sunday 26 January 2020

'We still need answers' - pain of Nora parents as inquest is ruled out

Nora Quoirin had been missing for 10 days in the Malaysian jungle before she was found dead. Photo: Lucie Blackman Trust/Family handout
Nora Quoirin had been missing for 10 days in the Malaysian jungle before she was found dead. Photo: Lucie Blackman Trust/Family handout
Nora's parents Meabh and Sebastien during the search for the tragic teenager. Photo: Royal Malaysia Police / AFP

The parents of Nora Quoirin, the teenager found dead after going missing for 10 days in the Malaysian jungle while on a family holiday, have demanded answers after it was ruled an inquest would not be held into her death.

The 15-year-old's French-Irish parents Sebastien and Meabh Quoirin have been pleading for answers ever since her body was found 2.5km from a holiday resort where the family had been staying in Dusun in August last year.

Inquests are routinely held in the UK if the cause of death is found to be from something other than natural causes.

However, Malaysian authorities classified Nora's death as "no further action" (NFA), according to the Lucie Blackman Trust charity, which is supporting the London teenager's family.

Vulnerable

The Quoirins said they were "shocked" by the decision, particularly considering there remained many unanswered questions around how the vulnerable teenager - born with the brain defect holoprosencephaly - came to leave her room and venture into the jungle, and whether she was alone at the time.

In a statement, Nora's parents said: "We cannot believe nor understand why any modern economy would label such a harrowing and mysterious case NFA without full process, and the total refusal to communicate with us is both insulting and unfathomable."

The Quoirins said an initial post-mortem examination found Nora died from gastro-intestinal bleeding and an ulcer, likely brought on by starvation and/or stress, but that the full findings had yet to be presented.

"The AGC's (Malaysian Attorney General's Chambers) decision prevents justice being done," they added.

"As we have stressed from the beginning of this case, it is crucial to understand how Nora came to be found where she was. As a vulnerable child, with significant physical and mental challenges, we strongly refute any conclusion that Nora was alone for the entire duration of her disappearance.

"We have repeatedly asked the police to clarify answers to our questions in this regard - and we have been repeatedly ignored.

"This stands in stark contrast with the promise of transparency that we received from the deputy prime minister and other prominent officials we met in Malaysia."

Matt Searle, chief executive of the Lucie Blackman Trust, accused Malaysian authorities of "effectively closing down" the case.

"The idea that Nora went off on her own seems incredibly unlikely," he said.

Investigation

"This family need answers and at least deserve an investigation to the greatest lengths available.

"We are urgently seeking answers from various authorities. Nora's death needs to be explained."

Nora's family last month asked the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs for assistance in their quest for answers over the teenager's death.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to provide ongoing consular assistance in this case," a spokesman said. "In line with department policy, we will not be commenting further."

Nora's funeral service was held last September at St Brigid's Church in south Belfast, the church where she was baptised.

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