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Coroner records schoolgirl jungle death

A London schoolgirl found dead on holiday in a Malaysian jungle died by misadventure, a coroner has recorded.

Nóra Quoirin, 15, from Balham, south-west London, was discovered dead nine days after she went missing from an eco-resort in August 2019.

A verdict of death by misadventure indicates it was an accident, rather than criminal.

Reacting to the verdict, Nóra’s mother Meabh Quoirin said: “We will still fight for Nora’s story to be heard.”

Mrs Quoirin had told the inquest that she believed her daughter was abducted, and rejected the possibility that her daughter might have wandered off alone.

Malaysian Police have insisted that Nóra’s disappearance has always been a missing persons case and ruled out any criminal involvement.

The authorities closed the case in January 2020, and Nóra’s parents pushed for the inquest.

During the inquest a British pathologist who carried out a second post-mortem examination said Nóra’s body had no injuries to suggest she was attacked or restrained.

On the inquest’s final day of evidence, an investigating officer who was on duty the morning Nóra was reported missing said he was confident there were no criminal elements involved in her disappearance.

Coroner Maimoonah Aid delivered her verdict on Monday after hearing evidence from 48 witnesses.

The family were staying in Sora House in Dusun eco-resort near Seremban, about 40 miles (65km) south of Kuala Lumpur, when they reported Nóra missing, the day after they had arrived.

Nóra, who was born with holoprosencephaly – a disorder which affects brain development – was eventually found by a group of civilian volunteers in a palm-oil plantation less than two miles from the holiday home nine days after vanishing.

The Quoirin’s legal team have discussed with Nóra’s parents their rights moving forward which include the possibility of applying for a revision of the verdict at the High Court of Seremban.

Louise Azmi, one lawyer for the family, said they had pressed for an open verdict to reflect the lack of positive evidence in the case regarding what happened to Nora.

An open verdict would leave open the possibility that a criminal element was involved in Nora’s death, Mrs Azmi said.

She told the BBC based on everything the family know of Nora, “they continue to believe it is impossible she would have willingly walked away into the jungle”.

The family’s legal team say parents Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin are “disappointed” with today’s verdict.

But, Coroner Maimoonah Aid said her verdict was made not on “theories” and “speculation” surrounding the case, but on the balance of probabilities of the evidence presented before her.

With no evidence to the contrary she ruled out foul play.

Moving forward, the Quoirin family now have the possibility to apply for a revision of the verdict with the High Court of Seremban.

There is precedent of a verdict being overturned in Malaysia before.

In 2019, following an appeal, a Malaysian coroner’s verdict of misadventure concerning the death of 18-year-old model Ivana Smit was overturned in Kuala Lumpur and reopened as a murder investigation.

According to Quoirin family lawyer Sakthy Vell, the family say they now need time to consider their next course of action.

bbc