The mother of Nora Quoirin, a French-Irish teenager whose body was found near a Malaysian jungle resort, has welcomed the decision by a court to overturn an inquest verdict of “misadventure” in her death.
Meabh Quoirin, a Catholic, said it was the “only reasonable” outcome after it was changed to an open verdict on Wednesday.
The 15-year-old London schoolgirl was discovered dead nine days after she went missing from an eco-resort in August 2019.
Her family believe she was abducted.
Nora was born with holoprosencephaly – a disorder which affects brain development – and her family have said she would not have wandered off on her own.
The teenager had poor motor skills, needed help to walk, and her mental age was about five or six, her parents previously said.
Speaking following the Malaysian 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,” she told the BBC.
“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 family were staying at Dusun eco-resort near Seremban, about 40 miles south of the capital Kuala Lumpur and reported Nora missing the day after they had arrived.
Her naked body was discovered beside a small stream about 1.6 miles from the resort.
Overturning the original ruling, High Court judge Azizul Azmi Adnan said it would not have been been probable for the teenager to venture out on her own and navigate challenging terrain in and around the location she was found.
He ruled that “the verdict of misadventure ought to be vacated in the interest of justice and substituted with an open verdict”.
At an inquest in Malaysia last January a coroner ruled Nora’s death was accidental rather than criminal, and said there was no third-party involvement.
Her family branded the findings “incomplete” at the time.
In an interview with Irish broadcaster RTE on Wednesday Ms Quoirin described the verdict as “incredibly important”.
“We still feel that the circumstances surrounding Nora’s death were suspicious,” she said.
“But in terms of what’s legally available for us an open verdict was incredibly important in our quest for justice for Nora, and that’s what we got today.”
The Belfast native said the judge took the time to recognise who her daughter was.
“He spent time explaining to everyone about how her physical, and especially mental and psychological constraints would have made all of those things, highly improbable,” she told the broadcaster’s News At One programme.
“And for that reason he had to rule out misadventure and therefore file an open verdict.”
Ms Quoirin said the family would now digest that “an element of justice has been served” and they would think about what options they have at this point.
“It is still a very painful journey, I think it always will be one, we’re doing as best as we possibly could be.
“But it is a fight every day, and one that we gladly take on in honour of Nora.
“There’s no getting away from the devastation and sadness.
“But we are determined to fight together as a family, and today is a big day and an important day and helping us on that journey of healing.”