A police chief has insisted tragic Nora Quoirin wasn’t kidnapped and instead wandered off alone when she disappeared from a jungle resort in Malaysia.
The London teenager’s naked body was found 10 days after she went missing from a bungalow during a family holiday with her parents and younger siblings at the Dusun Resort.
A Malaysian court opened an inquest into the 15-year-old French-Irish girl’s death on Monday, hearing from police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop, who claims Nora climbed out of a window.
Resort owner Haanim Ahmed Bamadhaj said the latch of the window the teen is believed to have climbed out of was broken, and there was no CCTV at the site, AFP reported.
The inquest at Seremban Coroner’s Court was shown photos of two windows at the bungalow, one of which had a broken latch.
Nora, who had learning difficulties, was found unclothed in the rainforest in August 2019 after a massive search.
Malaysian authorities said there was no sign of foul play, although her parents suspect there was a criminal element to her death.
Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin, who fought for the inquest and are due to give evidence via video-link, have previously said their daughter would not have wandered off alone.
As the inquest began, Mohamad said he inspected the family’s bungalow and saw nothing suspicious.
He told the hearing in Seremban: “There was no indication the victim was kidnapped.
“We did not receive any telephone calls – usually in this kind of case we will get a call to say the victim has been kidnapped and is in the hands of certain people, and they would demand a ransom.
“I believe the missing person actually climbed out of the window.”
Mohamad, the police chief of Negeri Sembilan state, said he immediately ordered a search after being told that the girl was missing.
He said he visited the resort, about 40 miles south of the capital Kuala Lumpur, the next day and spoke to Nora’s parents.
He added: “The family was distraught when I met them. I assured the father we will use all our resources to find the missing girl.”
The court also heard a recording of Mrs Quoirin calling “Nora darling, Nora, Nora, mummy here”.
The recording was played during the search as officials hoped it would lure Nora out of the dense jungle.
Helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of personnel were involved in the search for Nora, who vanished the day after her family checked in.
The hunt came to an end 10 days later when her body was found next to a stream just over a mile from the resort.
A post-mortem found she probably starved and died of internal bleeding about a week after she disappeared.
She had suffered intestinal damage and died two or three days before her body was found, officials said.
The forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy found some small scratches on Quoirin’s legs but ruled that they would not have contributed to her death, police said.
Ahead of the inquest, the teen’s parents said it was a “crucial element in the fight for truth and justice for Nora”.
The Quoirins told AFP in a statement: “We hope that all avenues surrounding Nora’s disappearance will be fully explored and not just the theory which the police has always favoured.”
The family feared a criminal connection to the disappearance, saying she had special needs and had never before left them voluntarily, a British victims’ group, the Lucie Blackman Trust, said last year.
Earlier this month, Coroner Maimoonah Aid visited the Dusun Resort and the area where the body was found.
As the hearing began on Monday, the coroner said: “We are here to answer a few questions – who is the dead person, when and how she died and whether anyone was responsible.”
Nora’s Irish mum and French father are not present at the inquest due to the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions.
The inquest, which is being streamed live on YouTube, will hear from more than 60 witnesses over nine days.
Other witnesses who will be called include police officers, hikers who found Nora’s body and a British forensics expert.
The inquest continues.