Police slow to respond to abduction fears, Nora Quoirin’s mother tells inquest

The mother of an Irish-French teenager whose body was found near a Malaysian jungle resort where she vanished while on holiday has said evidence may have been lost because police were slow to act on the possibility that her daughter could have been abducted.

Meabh Quoirin told an inquest into her 15-year-old daughter's death that she believed she heard "muffled and whispering" sounds of two people inside the family's cottage the morning Nora Anne Quoirin disappeared, but she took no action because she was asleep and not fully conscious at the time.

Ms Quoirin, who is Irish, said police were more focused on search and rescue, and only started looking for fingerprints and interviewing resort staff several days later, by which time many people had passed through the property.

Meabh Quoirin on videolink
Meabh Quoirin on videolink (Malaysia Judiciary/AP)

She said the police officer sent to take her statement also struggled to communicate in English and she had to explain herself repeatedly.

Some senior police officials who later approached her were also "quite rude and arrogant", telling her to be calm and let police do their job, she said.

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

Nora's disappearance from her family's cottage, the day after they arrived at the Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state on August 4 last year, sparked a massive search. Her naked body was found on August 13 beside a stream in a palm oil estate about 1.6 miles from the resort.

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Post-mortem continues into Nora Quoirin’s death in Malaysia
Family members of missing British girl Nora Anne Quoirin arrive at a hospital morgue in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. Malaysian police say the family of a missing 15-year-old London girl has positively identified a body found near the nature resort where she disappeared over a week ago. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
Family members of missing British girl Nora Anne Quoirin arrive at a hospital morgue in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. Malaysian police say the family of a missing 15-year-old London girl has positively identified a body found near the nature resort where she disappeared over a week ago. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
Nora Quoirin: French Police Launch Criminal Investigation Into Teenager's Death
Journalists gather outside a hospital morgue in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Malaysian police said Tuesday the family of missing 15-year-old London girl Nora Anne Quoirin has positively identified a naked body found near the nature resort where she disappeared over a week ago. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
A body believed to be 15-year-old Irish girl Nora Anne Quoirin who went missing is brought out of a helicopter in Seremban, Malaysia, August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Handout file photo supplied by the Lucie Blackman Trust on behalf of the family of Nora Quoirin. A body found in Malaysia is "likely" to be that of missing 15-year-old Nora Quoirin, who disappeared from the Malaysian jungle resort of Dusun on Sunday August 4, the Lucie Blackman Trust said.
A Malaysian diver takes part in a search and rescue operation for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish, Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 7, 2019. - A helicopter and dozens of people were deployed August 7 on the third day of a search for a vulnerable London teenager who went missing from a Malaysian rainforest resort, police said. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of Malaysian K-9 unit prepare to take part in a search and rescue operation for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish, Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 7, 2019. - A helicopter and dozens of people were deployed August 7 on the third day of a search for a vulnerable London teenager who went missing from a Malaysian rainforest resort, police said. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Shamans, known in Malaysia as bomoh, go into trances during a search effort to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 12, 2019. - Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared on August 4, a day after checking into a Malaysian resort with her London-based family. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of a rescue team walk to Mount Berembun as they take part in a search effort to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 12, 2019. - Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared on August 4, a day after checking into a Malaysian resort with her London-based family. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Shamans (L and C), known in Malaysia as bomoh, go into trances during a search effort to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 12, 2019. - Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared on August 4, a day after checking into a Malaysian resort with her London-based family. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Shamans, known in Malaysia as bomoh, take part in a search effort to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 12, 2019. - Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared on August 4, a day after checking into a Malaysian resort with her London-based family. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of a rescue team take part in a search effort to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin on Mount Berembun, Seremban on August 12, 2019. - Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared on August 4, a day after checking into a Malaysian resort with her London-based family. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Shamans, known in Malaysia as bomoh, look at a map during a search effort to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin on Mount Berembun, Seremban on August 12, 2019. - Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared on August 4, a day after checking into a Malaysian resort with her London-based family. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Shamans, known in Malaysia as bomoh, pray during a search effort to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin on Mount Berembun, Seremban on August 12, 2019. - Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared on August 4, a day after checking into a Malaysian resort with her London-based family. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of a rescue team take part in an ongoing search effort to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin on Mount Berembun, Seremban on August 12, 2019. - Nora Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared on August 4, a day after checking into a Malaysian resort with her London-based family. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Royal Malaysian Police chief of Negeri Sembilan, Mohammad Mat Yusop (C) displays a hotline phone number during a press conference as rescue team continue to search for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 11, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. The family believe she was abducted, but police have classified it as a missing person case. (Photo by Fuad Nizam / AFP) (Photo credit should read FUAD NIZAM/AFP/Getty Images)
A Royal Malaysian Police helicopter flies over as rescue team continue to search for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 11, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. The family believe she was abducted, but police have classified it as a missing person case. (Photo by Fuad Nizam / AFP) (Photo credit should read FUAD NIZAM/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of a rescue team continue to search for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 11, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. The family believe she was abducted, but police have classified it as a missing person case. (Photo by Fuad NIZAM / AFP) (Photo credit should read FUAD NIZAM/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of a rescue team stand with a sniffer dog during search efforts to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 10, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of a rescue team take part in search efforts to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 10, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of a rescue team continues to search for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 9, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of a rescue team leads a sniffer dog during search efforts to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 10, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A policeman holds a map as search efforts continue to locate missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 10, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Royal Malaysian Police posts a leaflet bearing a portrait of the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish girl Nora Quoirin at a bus stop during a search and rescue operation in Seremban on August 9, 2019. - Malaysian officials played recordings of a Franco-Irish teen's mother over megaphones on August 9 the sixth day of a desperate hunt for the schoolgirl who disappeared from a rainforest resort, police said. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Royal Malaysian Police officer hands a leaflet to a motorist bearing a portrait of the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish girl Nora Quoirin during a search and rescue operation in Seremban on August 9, 2019. - Malaysian officials played recordings of a Franco-Irish teen's mother over megaphones on August 9 the sixth day of a desperate hunt for the schoolgirl who disappeared from a rainforest resort, police said. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of Malaysian rescue team plays a voice recording of Nora Quoirin's mother during a search and rescue operation in a forest for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish girl Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 9, 2019. - Malaysian officials played recordings of a Franco-Irish teen's mother over megaphones on August 9 the sixth day of a desperate hunt for the schoolgirl who disappeared from a rainforest resort, police said. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A poster showing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin is displayed outside a school in Seremban on August 8, 2019, as a search and rescue operation continues for the missing teenager. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Malaysian Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Royal Malaysian Police officer points to a map showing the search and rescue operation area for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish teenager Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 8, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Malaysian Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of Malaysian rescue team prepare for a search and rescue operation for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish girl Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 8, 2019. - Quoirin, who lives in London, went missing on August 4 after checking in with her family to the Malaysian Dusun Resort in Seremban, about an hour from the capital Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Malaysian diver takes part in a search and rescue operation for the missing 15-year-old Franco-Irish, Nora Quoirin in Seremban on August 7, 2019. - A helicopter and dozens of people were deployed August 7 on the third day of a search for a vulnerable London teenager who went missing from a Malaysian rainforest resort, police said. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Police have told the inquest an investigation showed no criminal element, and there was no indication Nora had been abducted. Officers believe she climbed out of a window on her own, and the post-mortem examination showed she succumbed to intestinal bleeding due to starvation and stress.

But Ms Quoirin and her French husband, Sebastien Quoirin, say Nora was kidnapped, because she had mental and physical disabilities and could not have wandered off on her own.

Ms Quoirin broke down at one point during her four hours of evidence at the inquest.

She spoke at length about Nora's disability, saying it would be almost impossible for her daughter — who weighed only 4st 7lb — to push open and climb out of a window with her limited strength and disability. The window could not be locked because the latch was broken.

The children were sleeping in the loft, while she and her husband were in the master bedroom downstairs, Ms Quoirin said, adding that her younger daughter woke up near dusk to go to the toilet and noticed that Nora was already missing, but thought she had gone to sleep with her parents.

Ms Quoirin said that at one point during the night she "was aware of muffled sounds inside", like two people whispering. "I was in between sleeping and being awake, so I wasn't really processing my thoughts normally... it caused me no alarm because I wasn't fully conscious."

She said Nora would not necessarily have cried for help because she was "highly submissive", which could prove why there were no marks of struggle on her body. "She would just be silent and stare at the floor and close in on herself," she said.

Meabh Quoirin with her daughter Nora
Meabh Quoirin with her daughter Nora (Family Handout/PA)

The mother noted that the area where Nora was found had been repeatedly searched, and that given the steep and hilly terrain, her body was in fairly good condition, with only minor bruises and scratches. "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."

Her husband is due to give evidence on Thursday. Nora's two siblings will also give evidence in private.

Later this month, a British doctor who conducted a second post-mortem on the teenager's body will also give evidence remotely.

The Quoirin family has sued the resort owner for alleged negligence, saying there was no security at the resort and a cottage window with a broken latch was found ajar the morning Nora disappeared.

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