A pathologist has said he cannot rule out the possibility that a British schoolgirl found dead near a Malaysian jungle resort was the victim of a sex attack.
The body of 15-year-old Nora Quoirin was found 10 days after she went missing in the Dunsun rainforest resort in Malaysia.
Nathaniel Cary, who is British and performed a second autopsy on the body of Nora in the UK, said he agreed with Malaysian officials that the teenager had died of intestinal bleeding due to starvation and stress.
But he also told a virtual Malaysian inquest into the 15-year-old’s death that while there was no positive evidence she was sexually assaulted, he could not rule it out due to the severe decomposition of her body, Sky News reports.
He said it made it difficult to determine if there were semen traces or the DNA of strangers.
The forensic pathologist said: “I think we can exclude very serious trauma to the genitalia … but I won’t be able to exclude minimal trauma because of the decomposition obscuring things.
“The difficulty here is because of the decomposition, the forensic evidence would be disadvantaged to an extent.”
Nora was staying with her family in a cottage at the eco-resort when she went missing on August 4, 2019 – the day after they arrived.
Following a huge search, her naked body was found 1km away from their villa in rough terrain, with no shoes but with no cuts to her feet.
Police boss, Datuk Mohamad Mat Yusop, said Nora was found lying face up at the bottom of steep rocky slopes by a stream.
It was unclear what happened to her underwear, but police had previously said the autopsy showed no sign she was sexually assaulted.
Police told the inquest there was no “foul play” and that Nora had climbed out of a window which had a faulty lock.
But Nora’s Irish mother, Meabh, and French father, Sebastien, say they believe their daughter was kidnapped because she had mental and physical disabilities and could not have wandered off on her own.
However, police dispute this because of a lack of fingerprints and no ransom request.
Mr Cary said the Malaysian autopsy had been thorough but that the decomposition made it difficult to ascertain “in what circumstances the death occurred”.
He agreed with Nora’s family lawyer who said that any foreign DNA, if it existed, could have been washed away as Nora’s feet and hands were immersed in water for a few days before her body was found.
Responding to a question from the family’s lawyer, Mr Cary said he could not rule out the possibility that her body may have been placed there after her death.
Rescuers had previously searched the location where Nora’s body was found when she went missing.
He also agreed that there was no evidence Nora had suffered any major falls in the rough terrain despite her physical disabilities.
But he said the multiple cuts and scratches on the schoolgirl’s body indicated she had moved through dense undergrowth.
He added: “I see no reason to dispute the (Malaysian) findings, although like me, the Malaysian pathologists were clearly disadvantaged by the decomposition.”
Nora’s heartbroken parents have sued the resort owner for alleged negligence.
They claim there was no security there and that the window with a broken latch was found ajar the morning Nora disappeared.
The jungle resort had no CCTV and no security lights so their customers ‘could see the stars’.
They also fought for a full inquest because they believe Nora would not have wandered off alone.