Father heard noises before Irish teen vanished in Malaysia, inquest hears

The body of Nora Quoirin was discovered unclothed after a massive hunt through the rainforest. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - The father of a French-Irish teenager whose body was found in the Malaysian jungle told an inquest Thursday (Nov 12) he heard noises in the family's holiday chalet before she disappeared.

The body of Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, was discovered unclothed last year after a massive hunt through the rainforest.

The authorities insist there was no foul play but her parents believe she was abducted from the resort where they were staying near Kuala Lumpur, saying the teen would not have wandered off alone.

Testifying at the inquest into her death, Mr Sebastien Quoirin said he "heard some muffled noise coming from the chalet" late at night on the day the London-based family arrived.

"I could feel it was close... I cannot describe the nature of the noise," he said, speaking via video-link, as he could not attend the hearing in person due to the coronavirus.

The 48-year-old Frenchman did not get up to investigate, however, saying he was in a "state of semi-consciousness". Nora's mother, Mrs Meabh Quoirin, made similar claims in her testimony on Wednesday.

They discovered their daughter was missing the next morning. A 10-day hunt involving hundreds of rescuers followed, before the schoolgirl's body was found close to the resort.

A window latch on the chalet was broken, but Mr Quoirin did not believe Nora could have climbed out alone, as she struggled with mobility and balance.

"She has no survival instincts. I could not understand how she could have got out of the chalet and ventured out of the resort herself," he said.

He said Nora's feet were uninjured when her body was discovered, which would be unusual if she spent days wandering in the jungle, and believes she could have been kidnapped and then dumped.

"The abductors could have realised she was a liability following the extensive police search and widespread media attention," he said.

The family have criticised the authorities for responding slowly after Nora's disappearance but police say they conducted a thorough probe and there is no indication of kidnapping.

An autopsy found the teen had probably starved and died of internal bleeding - but her family pushed for the inquest, which is expected to continue into December.

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