Malaysia court rules against coroner verdict in Nora Quoirin’s death

Nora Quoirin

A Malaysian High Court has found that a coroner erred in ruling that the death of French/Irish teenager Nora Anne Quoirin, whose body was found near a jungle resort, was likely to have been due to a misadventure that did not involve other people.

High Court judge Azizul Azmi Adnan agreed with Nora’s parents that it would not have been probable for the 15-year-old to venture out on her own, navigate the steep terrain and evade detection for days, due to her mental and physical disabilities.

He ruled that “the verdict of misadventure ought to be vacated in the interest of justice and substituted with an open verdict”, a finding by a coroner of death without stating the cause.

Judge Azizul Azmi Adnan, Meabh Quoirin & Sebastian Quoirin, Nora’s parents, second left frame in the middle, at the hearing. Credit: Malaysian Judiciary via AP

The ruling is a legal victory for Nora’s parents, who believe it was likely she was kidnapped and had appealed the coroner’s verdict, issued in January.

Nora's mother has welcomed the decision.

Meabh Quoirin said it was the "only reasonable" outcome after it was changed to an open verdict on Wednesday.

Speaking following the court's decision, Ms Quoirin said the family were relieved by the outcome.

"It's a very big day for us, we're very emotional.

"But we're very pleased with the outcome. Nora was always going to be worth fighting for and this is the verdict we wanted.

"It was really the only reasonable verdict open to us in the sense that the proof that we had could only really lead to this road as a credible one as far as we were concerned."

The teenager disappeared at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on 4 August 2019, a day after the family arrived for a holiday.

After a major search, her body was found on 13 August beside a stream on a palm oil estate about 1.6 miles (2.5km) from the resort.

The coroner had ruled out homicide, natural death and suicide and said it was likely that she got lost after leaving her family’s cottage on her own, and that no-one else was involved.

Police have said there was no evidence of foul play, but her parents said she would not have wandered off on her own.

They told the inquest that a third party could have dumped her body in the area following the search for her.

The coroner had described the family’s suggestions as “nothing more than probably theory” with no evidence.