Malaysian court to rule on challenge by French-Irish teen's family

A Malaysian court will rule Wednesday on a challenge by the family of a French-Irish teenager over an inquest verdict that she died by misadventure after vanishing in the jungle.

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 a ruling of misadventure, indicating her death during the family holiday was accidental rather than a crime, and said no one else was involved. 

But her London-based parents, who have dismissed authorities’ claims their daughter wandered into the jungle alone at night, and believe she was abducted, said they were “utterly disappointed” by the verdict. 

They lodged a challenge and are seeking to have the ruling revised to an open verdict — suggesting there are still questions to be answered about the case.

Judge Azizul Azmi Adnan is expected to hand down his ruling at 5:00 pm (0900 GMT) at the High Court in Seremban, outside Kuala Lumpur, via video-link because of coronavirus curbs.

Presenting the family’s case at a hearing last week, lawyer Louise Azmi said an open verdict would be “appropriate”.

“The last thing that (Nora) would do is to walk away from the security of her parents,” she said.

Malaysian police have stuck to their version of events — that the teenager clambered out of a window of the family’s holiday chalet and wandered off, and insist there was no sign of foul play.

But her mother, Meabh, has said she believes someone could have placed her body in the spot where it was found, not far from the resort.

The teenager disappeared a day after her family checked in to the Dusun Resort, triggering a 10-day hunt involving hundreds of rescuers, helicopters and sniffer dogs. 

An autopsy concluded she likely died of starvation and internal bleeding.

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

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.

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