Saturday 18 January 2020

'It’s something no person should experience': Nóra Quoirin's family demand inquest into daughter's death in Malaysian jungle

The late Nóra Quoirin
The late Nóra Quoirin

Allison Bray

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

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

Despite a massive search of area near the resort, her barefoot naked body was found in the rain forest on the tenth day after she vanished from the family’s holiday resort on August 3.

Malaysian authorities said a post mortem conducted following the grim discovery found she died of intestinal bleeding, likely due to hunger and stress but there were no signs of assault or foul play.

'Our hearts are broken': Nora Quoirin with her mother Meabh. Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire
'Our hearts are broken': Nora Quoirin with her mother Meabh. Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire

However, the couple said they are still waiting to see the full post mortem results from the Malaysian authorities as well as another post mortem conducted in London.

But in the meantime they told RTE’s Six One News programme this evening that it is their fundamental 'human right' for the Malaysian authorities to hold an inquest into their daughter’s death.

"We are determined to have this inquest. We’re hopeful that the French, the Irish and British governments will support us. I think it's a basic human right and democratic duty to find some truth and justice to what happened," Mr Quoirin said.

"While a post mortem when it comes through may give us answers, and has already given us some basic answers around what caused Nóra's death, it doesn't explain any of how she could possibly have got to where she was found," Mrs Quoirin added.

The Order of Service for the funeral mass of Nora Quoirin (Liam McBurney/PA)
The Order of Service for the funeral mass of Nora Quoirin (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Quoirin also revealed that he was the first person to be told that a body – believed to be that of his daughter- had been found.

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

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

A rare congenital disorder at birth left Nora with cognitive and developmental delays that left her struggling to walk and balance normally.

TRAGEDY: Nora Quoirin (15)
TRAGEDY: Nora Quoirin (15)

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, Mrs Quoirin said.

Her mother said it would have been "impossible physically and mentally to imagine that she could have got any distance at all" after she vanished 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 around 8am the day after they arrived at the resort and found Nora missing.

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

Nora Quorin
Nora Quorin

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

Meanwhile, the couple said they are still a "family of five" and they 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," Mrs Quorin said.

"We will carry Nóra with us forever. 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," she said.

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