Teenager who died in Malaysian jungle gifted others with love, mourners told

By David Young, PA

A teenager found dead in a Malaysian jungle after going missing on a family holiday was a gentle and innocent child who gifted others with immeasurable love, mourners at her funeral were told.

Family and friends of Nora Quoirin gathered in Belfast to say farewell in the church where she was baptised.

The body of the 15-year-old from London was cremated earlier on Tuesday morning.

Her ashes were later placed at the front of St Brigid’s church in south Belfast for requiem mass.

Meabh Quoirin arrives for the funeral mass of her daughter Nora (Liam McBurney/PA)

Nora was found dead after a 10-day search around the Malaysian jungle resort of Dusun last month.

The teenager, who was born with the brain defect holoprosencephaly and was described by her family as “vulnerable”, disappeared on August 4.

Nora lived in London and was the daughter of French-Irish parents Sebastien and Meabh Quoirin.

Parish priest Fr Edward O’Donnell, who conducted the service alongside Nora’s great uncle Fr Pat Kelly, described her as “very special”.

He reflected on the girl’s baptism as he told mourners of the joy Nora had brought to her family in her short life.

The cleric described her as “gentle and innocent”.

“Nora was very special, she brought so much joy to Meabh and Sebastien, to her sister, Innes, and to Maurice her brother, and to those of the wider family circle,” he said.

“She, as we all know, depended greatly on others, but Nora in turn gifted others with immeasurable love and joy; before such an ability we can only feel gratitude.

“Today we return to St Brigid’s united in the unspeakable pain of Nora’s tragic death, united too in wordless sympathy for Nora’s family.

He added: “We who grieve for Nora hold her memory in love, believing that all the bonds of love and affection which bind us together throughout our lives do not unravel with death.”

“Meabh and Sebastien, Innes and Maurice – remember Nora’s love for you, and know that she still loves you, and as you continue to love her, love one another.”

A poem Nora’s mother wrote about her when she was nine, called One, was read out by family friend Reverend Ruth Patterson.

Ms Patterson also relayed a tribute from Nora’s family to the mourners.

She described how the teenager loved school, particularly cooking classes and making recipes from her Gruffalo cookbook.

Nora Quoirin died after disappearing from the Malaysian jungle resort of Dusun (Lucie Blackman Trust/PA)

Ms Patterson said she liked eating out, especially when she was “gorging on a golfer’s fry with her granda at the golf club”.

She recalled the teenager’s sense of fun.

“Nora had a wicked sense of humour and loved to tell jokes from her joke book,” she said.

Ms Patterson recounted an occasion when Nora’s father told her she was using her Kindle reader too much.

She told mourners that Nora replied: “Don’t worry daddy, I’m reading the Washington Post.”

The minister added: “Nora had a crazy memory, she could tell you almost every capital city in the world, the number of steps up the Eiffel Tower and what she ate on her birthday seven years ago.”

She said her favourite time was when she was listening to bedtime stories.

“Most of all Nora loved cuddles with her mummy and getting her night-time story read every night, this was her special time,” she said.

When Nora disappeared from her hotel room her parents feared she had been abducted, insisting she would not have wandered off by herself.

However police in Malaysia said they have so far found no evidence of abduction or kidnapping.

A post-mortem examination revealed Nora died from internal bleeding probably caused by hunger and stress.