A police chief has insisted there was ‘no indication’ London teenager Nora Quoirin was abducted on the first day of an inquest into her death after she vanished from a resort in Malaysia.
The 15-year-old’s disappearance sparked a ten-day search through dense rainforest involving helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of volunteers.
But when her naked body was found by hikers beside a small stream about 1.6 miles from the resort police said foul play was not involved and closed the case.
They pointed to an autopsy claiming she had succumbed to intestinal bleeding from starvation and stress after spending a week in the rainforest.
Her heartbroken parents argued their daughter, who had learning difficulties, would never have wondered away alone and demanded an inquest.
The inquest into the death of London teenager Nora Quoirin opened today a year after her naked body was found in a jungle in Malaysia. She is pictured above in a family photo
Parents Meabh and Sebastien demanded an inquest after arguing their daughter would not have wandered off. They are pictured calling for their daughter with a megaphone last year
Local police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop was the first witness called to the inquest in Seremban today, held a year after she disappeared.
‘There was no indication the victim was kidnapped,’ he said.
‘We did not receive any telephone calls – usually in this kind of case we will get a call to say the victim has been kidnapped and is in the hands of certain people, and they would demand a ransom.
‘I believe the missing person actually climbed out of the window.’
When he first met the family, Mr Yusop said they were ‘distraught’ and that he ‘assured the father we will use all our resources to find the missing girl’.
He told the court that he immediately ordered a search after being told she was missing on August 4 last year.
The voice of the girl’s mother calling ‘Nora darling, Nora, Nora, mummy here’ was played in court – a recording that was used in the search for the girl.
Police officers pictured leaving the court today. The local police chief was the first of 64 witnesses called to the inquest to give evidence
The 15-year-old’s disappearance sparked a ten-day hunt through the rainforest involving helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of volunteers
A second witness, resort owner Ahmed Bamadhaj, told the inquest that the latch of one of the windows in the bungalow where they were staying was broken.
Pictures of the two windows in the hotel room were shown to the court, including the one with a broken latch. There is no CCTV of the site.
The Dusun resort, based deep in the rainforest of Negeri Sembilan, consists of seven self-catered bungalows with a maximum capacity of 20 adults.
As many as 64 witnesses are expected to be called to the court including the hikers that found her body, a British forensic expert, Nora’s parents and police officers.
Opening proceedings today, Coroner Maimoonah Aid said: ‘We are here to answer a few questions – who is the dead person, when and how she died and whether anyone was responsible.’
Maimoonah visited the Dusun and the place where the body was found earlier this month in a trip the Quoirin family’s lawyer described as ‘quite thorough’.
The inquest will be calling 64 witnesses to the courthouse, pictured, in Seremban
A map shows the Dusun Resort near Seremban in Malaysia where Nora disappeared last year
Ahead of the inquest, the teenager’s parents Meabh and Sebastien Quoirin described it as ‘a crucial element in the fight for truth and justice for Nora’.
‘We hope that all avenues surrounding Nora’s disappearance will be fully explored and not just the theory which the police has always favoured,’ they said.
They were not present at the inquest because of the coronavirus pandemic but will be interviewed by the coroner via video-link.
Nora disappeared from the resort on August 4 last year.
Her parents have previously said their daughter could not have wandered off on her own as she had poor motor skills and needed help to walk. They also said that her mental age was about five or six years old.
A police officer searches for Nora in August last year following her disappearance
In a statement issued by the Lucie Blackman Trust, a charity which helps British families in crisis overseas, they said in January: ‘It is crucial to understand how Nora came to be found where she was.
‘As a vulnerable child, with significant physical and mental challenges, we strongly refute any conclusion that Nora was alone for the entire duration of her disappearance.
‘We have repeatedly asked the police to clarify answers to our questions in this regard – and we have been repeatedly ignored.’