Nora Quoirin: Malaysian court overturns 'misadventure' inquest ruling

Victory for parents of London teen Nora Quoirin who vanished in Malaysian jungle as court overturns ‘misadventure’ inquest ruling leaving open the possibility of criminal involvement in her death

  • Inquest previously gave a verdict of ‘misadventure’ in the death of Nora Quoirin
  • Malaysian court overturned the inquest and replaced it with an ‘open’ ruling
  • Judge Azizul Azmi Adnan said it was unlikely teen wandered off alone at night
  • He added it was ‘not probable’ she ‘navigated by herself the challenging terrain’
  • Authorities insist there was no foul play but parents believe she was abducted

A Malaysian court overturned an inquest verdict of ‘misadventure’ in the death of a French-Irish schoolgirl who vanished in the jungle. 

The verdict was replace with an ‘open’ ruling on Wednesday in a victory for her family. 

The initial verdict indicated the death was accidental, but the new ruling leaves open the possibility of criminal involvement and may put pressure on authorities to conduct a new probe. 

The body of Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, was discovered after a huge hunt through the rainforest following her disappearance from a resort outside Kuala Lumpur in 2019. 

In January, a coroner handed down the misadventure ruling and said no one else was involved but the teen’s London-based parents – who believe she was abducted – challenged the verdict in court. 

A Malaysian court overturned an inquest verdict of ‘misadventure’ in the death of Nora Quoirin, who vanished in the jungle in 2019, replacing the verdict with an ‘open’ ruling and leaving open the possibility of criminal involvement 

They were pushing for an open verdict. Judge Azizul Azmi Adnan ruled in their favour. 

He told the Seremban High Court that changing the verdict was ‘in the interests of justice’, adding: ‘There was no credible evidence to support any other verdict.’  

Her parents Meabh and Sebastien, who watched proceedings via video-link due to Covid-19 restrictions, showed little reaction as the ruling was delivered. 

An open verdict is typically handed down in inquests when there is no evidence to support a more conclusive ruling – such as homicide. 

A family representative declined comment on what their next steps might be.

It will give them ammunition to pressure Malaysian police to launch a new probe into their daughter’s death, after they fiercely criticised the initial investigation as slow and inadequate. 

In January, a coroner handed down the misadventure ruling and said no one else was involved but the teen’s London-based parents Meabh and Sebastien (pictured) – who believe she was abducted – challenged the verdict in court

Judge Azizul said it was unlikely the teenager would have wandered off alone at night, and the terrain would have been too challenging for her to clamber over barefoot. 

He said: ‘It was not probable for Nora Anne to have ventured out of the (chalet) on her own, to have navigated by herself the challenging terrain in and around the location where she was eventually found.’

He added that it was unlikely that she managed to evade detection while the massive search and rescue operation was being conducted. 

The schoolgirl’s body was found in a stream in an overgrown palm oil plantation after a 10-day hunt involving helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of rescuers. 

He also noted she was a ‘shy and retiring child who was uncurious and unadventurous, and who was strongly attached emotionally to her parents… it was unlikely for Nora Anne to have gone out on her own’.  

Judge Azizul Azmi Adnan told the Seremban High Court that it was unlikely the 15-year-old, who had learning difficulties, would have wandered off alone at night, and the terrain would have been too challenging for her to clamber over barefoot

The coroner had said the teenager had been left disoriented by the long journey from Britain to Malaysia, likely leading her to venture out alone, and that there was no sign she was murdered or sexually assaulted. 

Malaysian police have also stuck to their version of events – that the teenager clambered out of a broken window on her own – and insist there was no sign of foul play. 

But her mother has said she believes someone could have placed her body in the spot where it was found. 

Her parents testified they heard noises in the holiday chalet the night their daughter disappeared. 

The teenager vanished from her room a day after her family checked in to the Dusun Resort on August 3, 2019. 

Her mother (pictured in 2019) has said she believes someone could have placed her body in the spot where it was found 

A post-mortem found she had died three days before her naked body was found. An autopsy concluded she likely died of starvation and internal bleeding. 

The 12-acre resort is next to a patch of thick jungle and in the foothills of a mountain range. Her body was found in the jungle around 1.6 miles away. 

The teen had a condition known as holoprosencephaly, where the brain fails to develop normally. She had limited verbal communication and could only write a few words.

She attended a school for young people with learning difficulties. The head teacher previously told the inquest into her death that it is ‘unimaginable’ that she could have climbed a fence at the Malaysian jungle resort she disappeared from due to her physical disabilities. 

The teenager had poor motor skills, needed help to walk, and her mental age was about five or six, her parents previously said. 

Nora disappeared near the Duson Resort, just outside of Kuala Lumpur, in August 2019

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