Nóra Quoirin death: Intruding 'not impossible', resort owner says

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image copyrightFamily handout
image captionNóra Quoirin, from south-west London, had a disorder that affected her brain development

The owner of a Malaysian holiday resort where a British girl disappeared from and was later found dead has told the inquest it "would not be impossible" for an intruder to gain access.

Helen Todd's family runs the Dusun Resort where Nóra Quoirin vanished from in August 2019.

The 15-year-old's body was found in the jungle two miles away nine days later.

Mrs Todd told how part of the resort's boundary fence had fallen down but it was "highly unusual" to have intruders.

Recounting the morning of 4 August, when Nóra's parents discovered she was missing, Mrs Todd said her staff searched the eco-resort near Seremban, about 40 miles from Kuala Lumpur, before police arrived.

Nóra, from Balham, south-west London, was born with holoprosencephaly, a disorder that affects brain development.

Louise Azmi, a lawyer for the Quoirin family, quizzed the resort's owner about security, particularly the front and back gates.

Mrs Todd told the hearing "you could walk around fence posts" at the back gate but not drive through it.

image copyrightFamily Handout
image captionNóra Quoirin had "balance issues" and would not have walked off on her own, the inquest has previously heard

Last week, Nóra's former head teacher told the inquest in Malaysia she "wouldn't have the confidence to walk off on her own", because she had "balance issues" and it would be "unimaginable" for her to climb fences.

Ms Azmi then asked: "It would not have been possible for her to come out of that gate and make her own way to palm-oil plantation? Would you agree with that?"

Mrs Todd replied: "I can't make a comment about that," but said she walked the route "quite often".

Of the front gate, Mrs Todd said it was remote-controlled and was always locked by the staff "when they left work to go home".

On the question of the boundary fencing towards the area where Nora was found, the witness described it as "almost flat to the ground".

"[Nora] would have still had to clamber over it. Once she would have clambered over it, it was very bushy… outside the boundary fence is quite thick undergrowth," said Mrs Todd.

Ms Azmi asked: "In the dark, without any shoes, would you agree that that would be not an easy route to navigate?"

"It would be difficult," Mrs Todd replied.

'Highly unusual'

The lawyer then asked: "But for somebody perhaps who wanted to come in, perhaps somebody able-bodied and wearing shoes, it would not be impossible?"

Mrs Todd replied: "It would not be impossible, but it would be highly unusual."

Ms Azmi then asked: "And again at the back gate for somebody who was quite determined about getting into the resort, again that would not be impossible?"

Mrs Todd told the hearing: "No that would not be impossible."

Lawyers for the Dusun resort asked the owner to elaborate on someone breaking in being "highly unusual."

Mrs Todd explained that she and her family had lived in the property for more than 30 years.

"It has always been a safe place," she said.

"We never had a burglary and we have never had an intruder in any of our houses."

The inquest continues.

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