Belfast Telegraph

Nora's grandad reveals family still of belief it was foul play

Grandfather: Sylvain Quoirin
Grandfather: Sylvain Quoirin
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

The family of Nora Quoirin still fear that she was abducted during a holiday in Malaysia and remain determined to find out exactly how the teenager died, their lawyer has said.

Results of a post-mortem examination yesterday said that there was no evidence of foul play in the 15-year-old's death.

Nora - who was born with the brain defect holoprosencephaly and was described by her family as "vulnerable" - vanished from a villa in a nature reserve in Negri Sembilan shortly after she arrived on August 3.

Her body was discovered by volunteer hikers on Tuesday - 10 days after she went missing - near a waterfall about 1.6 miles from the jungle resort of Dusun.

Pathologists have concluded that Nora died from internal bleeding between two and four days earlier, most likely due to starvation and stress.

They also confirmed that there were no signs of abduction or sexual assault.

Nora's father Sebastien (47) and mother Meabh (45), who is originally from Belfast, were informed of the results before they were made public.

The teenager's French grandfather cast doubt on the findings, claiming someone had "put her there, to get rid of her".

Negeri Sembilan state police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop said Nora had not eaten since she left the family's villa, hours after arriving with her parents and siblings Innes (12) and Maurice (9).

He said she had also been alive for six days while hundreds of people, aided by drones and sniffer dogs, scoured the forest area near the resort, playing recordings of Nora's mother calling out to her.

"For the time being, there is no element of abduction or kidnapping," the officer said.

"The cause of death was upper gastrointestinal bleeding due to a duodenal ulcer, complicated with perforation.

"It could be due to a lack of food for a long period of time and prolonged stress."

Mr Yusop added that there were some bruises on Nora's legs, but that these would not have caused her death.

The post-mortem was observed by police from Britain, Ireland and France, who have been assisting in the investigation since Nora's disappearance.

Further analysis is due to be carried out on samples taken from her body, Mr Yusop said, adding that Nora's family were now free to take her body home.

Malaysia's Attorney General Tommy Thomas, who is overseeing the case, requested test samples from the post-mortem and will decide if an inquest is to be held.

But the family's French lawyer Charles Morel has said that while the Quoirins are satisfied with the work of Malaysian police, people should be "cautious" about the first interpretation of the post-mortem results.

He said no avenue of what happened to Nora has been "excluded", including a criminal investigation.

He added that it is too early to determine what happened to Nora and that the family want to get more information from toxicology reports.

Nora's parents, who have lived in London for 20 years, had previously expressed fears that she had been abducted and had put up a £10,000 reward for information.

Mr Morel said that the Quoirin family still "cannot understand" how Nora had left the villa they were staying in by herself.

He told RTE Radio: "They want to find out the truth, they owe her that.

"The family still find it difficult to understand that she would have gone into the jungle on her own.

"They are concerned that she did not leave on her own and cannot understand how she could leave by herself."

He said he knew the family had been "traumatised" by what had happened to Nora, adding: "They loved their daughter very much, she was an angel."

Nora's French grandfather Sylvain Quoirin has said he believes "someone put" the teenager's body in the place where she was found.

Mr Quoirin told The Irish Times that the circumstances surrounding Nora's death are a criminal matter.

"She wasn't there yet (during previous searches). Someone put her there, to get rid of her.

"Can you imagine her walking 2.5km, naked and barefoot, over rocks, in the middle of the night?" Mr Quoirin asked.

"For me, that's absurd."

Mr Quoirin, who is the mayor of a small town in Burgundy, said there are "dark areas that need to be cleared up for the family to be able to grieve in peace".

Nora's uncle Pacome Quoirin also told the newspaper that the family remain "very dubious".

"How could she have survived for five days in the jungle without food or water, if you believe the theory that she left the hotel on her own?" he asked.

Mr Quoirin said the family do not question the information announced by Malaysian police.

"Her death was caused by a haemorrhage, as they said. But what were the conditions that led to it? She could have been kidnapped and fed at the beginning."

The Dusun resort said it wanted to "extend support and assistance to the Quoirins during these very difficult times".

"We will continue to provide our fullest cooperation to the authorities in their investigation," they said.

A book of condolence has been opened at Belfast City Hall.

Last night a public Mass was also held for the teenager at Nora's home parish of St Bede's in Clapham Park, south London.

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