Mother heard 'whispering sounds' before Nora Quoirin disappearance

·3-min read

The mother of a teenager whose body was found in the Malaysian jungle says evidence may have been lost because police were too slow to act on claims she may have been abducted.

During an inquest into her daughter's death, Meabh Quoirin said she heard "muffled and whispering" sounds of two people inside the family's cottage on the morning of Nora's disappearance, but said she was too asleep to be able to take action at the time.

Ms Quoirin added that police were more focused on looking for Nora, and only began looking for fingerprints and conducting interviews at the resort several days later, by which time many people had passed through the site.

She also said that the police officer who took her statement struggled speak English and she had to repeatedly explain herself, adding some senior officials who later spoke to her were also "quite rude and arrogant", telling her to be calm and to let police do their job.

"My own understanding was that the dominant commitment was in search and rescue, and it took a long time to mobilise and explore any criminal route," she told the inquest by videolink from London.

"I believe that criminal evidence, if it existed, would have been lost during that time."

The London teenager's disappearance at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on 4 August last year sparked a massive search.

The 15-year-old's naked body was discovered beside a stream in a palm oil estate on 13 August - around 1.6 miles (2.5km) from the resort.

Police have told the inquest that the investigation showed no criminal intent, and there had not been any indication that Nora had been abducted.

They believe she climbed out of the window on her own, with a post-mortem report saying she succumbed to intestinal bleeding due to starvation and stress.

However, her parents dispute that, saying due to her mental and physical disabilities she could not have wandered off on her own.

During her four hours of evidence, Ms Quoirin spoke at length about her daughter's disability, saying it would have been almost impossible for Nora, who weighed 4st 7lb, to push open and climb out of her window.

The children slept in the loft of the cottage, while Ms Quoirin and her husband slept in the master bedroom downstairs.

She said that her younger daughter woke up near dusk to use the loo and had noticed that Nora was already missing, but assumed she had got into bed with her parents.

Ms Quoirin added that Nora may not have cried for help, as she was "highly submissive", and that could be the reason why there were no signs of struggle on the body.

She also said that the area where Nora was found had been repeatedly searched and that her body was in fairly good condition, given the rough terrain.

"Why does her state of body not reflect that of someone constantly moving or exposed to the harshest of elements?" she said.

"I don't want to speculate on the motivation of the abduction," she said. "It is possible and reasonable to believe that any plan that was conceived at any point may have to change by the sheer volume of attention focused on Nora's case. I believe that Nora could have subsequently been released by her captors."

Ms Quoirin's husband is due to give evidence on Thursday, while Nora's two siblings will give evidence in private, as will a British doctor who carried out a second post-mortem.