| 2.2°C Dublin

Nora Quoirin ransom email sent by scammer, inquest told


Nora Quoirin. Photo: Lucie Blackman Trust/Family handout/PA Wire

Nora Quoirin. Photo: Lucie Blackman Trust/Family handout/PA Wire

Nora Quoirin. Photo: Lucie Blackman Trust/Family handout/PA Wire

An email account used to send a purported ransom demand to the family of Irish-French teenager Nora Quoirin after her disappearance last year was found to be deactivated, possibly to conceal a fraud attempt, a senior police investigator has told the inquest into her death.

Cybercrime investigating officer deputy superintendent Hazizi Abd Samad said the account's status was obtained from analysis conducted on the purported sender's email address on September 14.

Nora, whose mum Meabh is from Belfast, disappeared from the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state, sparking a massive 10-day hunt.

The 15-year-old, who had learning difficulties, went missing on August 4 last year, a day after she arrived for a two-week family holiday at the resort, about 40 miles south of Kuala Lumpur.

Hazizi was called to testify after the coroner's court was previously informed that the Quoirin family had received an email demanding a ransom on August 7.

The email was later found to be a scam that had purportedly originated from Virginia in the United States.

Hazizi confirmed that the intended recipient of the email was the Lucie Blackman Trust, a charity and support group liaising with the family.

The 32nd witness in the inquest told coroner Maimoonah Aid: "Based on my assumption and experience, if an email address no longer exists, it would mean that the email creator made the decision to erase it.

"Such behaviour, in many cyber crime-related cases, is attributable to frauds run by scammers."

Hazizi also told the court he was unable to determine when the account was deactivated, but he added that further information on the creation and deletion of the account could be obtained from Microsoft as it was registered under the Hotmail webmail service at that time.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

When asked if someone could spoof the creation of an email, Hazizi said it was plausible since it is a free webmail service and users are not necessarily required to provide detailed information to verify their existence.

Earlier, another investigating officer, inspector Nur Adli Md Saari, told the court how the email's sender had used a layering method to mask their transactions and avoid detection.

Thursday's hearing was also told that the location where Nora's body was found was remote, difficult to access and had poor mobile phone coverage.

Search-and-rescue operation volunteer M. Magenderan recalled how he and another volunteer had found the spot by following gunshots authorities used to signal their location on August 13 last year.

He described the journey from the resort where the teenager had gone missing to where the body was found as surrounded by dense vegetation and with no visible walking trails.

"Before help arrived, the police had trouble getting into the place and they fired gunshots (to reveal their position)," he said.

"After we heard that, we headed towards the shot and guided the police to where we were.

"A lot of people had no clue as to how to get into the area where the body was found."

The inquest continues.

Most Watched