SEREMBAN, August 24 — There were no surveillance cameras within the premises of the Negri Sembilan retreat here when 15-year-old Irish-FrNora Anne Quoirinench tourist went missing last year, the Coroner’s Court heard today.
Testifying as the second witness in inquest, The Dusun owner Haanim Ahmed Bamadhaj explained that minimum security was employed out of respect for the privacy of its guests and to enable their enjoyment of the lush green space.
“At the time, CCTVs were not installed. However, we always had somebody near by the compound to keep watch.
“We do not have guards with torchlights walking around and there is also no security posted at the two access gates,” she told Coroner Maimoonah Aid through a conference call live-streamed from Germany where she is currently base.
Despite the bare minimum in security detail, Haanim told the court that her resort had no reports of crime for the past 30 years, it was opened in 1984.
According to Haanim, The Dusun could accommodate a maximum of 20 people at a time in six units spread across its 12-acre plot of land.
Haanim said most, if not all of the six units in the resort which she described as bungalows, were designed with an open-concept.
She said the resort itself is styled as a self-catering nature retreat and is not a regular hotel.
She also recalled how she first came to meet Nora Anne and her parents, Meabh Quoirin and Sebastian Quoirin, on August 3, 2019 when the family checked into The Dusun.
“I was at the parking lot on August 3 and I saw Nora Anne’s family just getting off their ride. They looked exhausted but I did not notice any child who was disabled at that time,” Haanim said, adding that she did not speak much to the family.
Malfunctioning window latches
Haanim told the court that the window latches in some of the bungalows could not be latched properly and broke quite often. She said it was a problem that had persisted for a period of time
She said the windows could be pulled inwards to close, but could not be locked.
When asked if said windows such be kept shut at all times, Haanim said it would be discouraging as the windows actually allowed the free flow of air inside the units for better ventilation and cooling purposes.
“Usually it is not kept shut because it is very uncomfortable when it gets warm since the houses are not equipped with an air-conditioning system,” she replied federal counsel Nuralis Mat who was the inquest’s conducting officer.
Asked by the coroner, Haanim said she could not remember the last time the malfunctioning windows were inspected.
Haanim also told the inquest she did not hear anything suspicious on August 3, 2019, the day Nora Anne disappeared. She said her pet dog would usually bark loudly at the slightest of movements.
Haanim said she only received a phone call at 9am on August 4, 2019, from the teen’s mother informing her of Nora Anne’s disappearance.
“When Nora Anne’s younger sibling woke up at 7am, he noticed Nora Anne was gone but assumed that she was downstairs with their parents.
“Only by 8.30am, the family realised Nora Anne was truly missing. I made my way to the parking lot and thought it would be better to lodge a police report,” she said.
Haani also recalled Meabh telling her that Nora Anne had the mental capacity of a child despite being an adolescent and that she would hide whenever she got scared.
Subsequent to her police report filed on August 4, 2019, Haanim said search and rescue operations were activated on the same day; the Fire and Rescue Department was the first to arrive at the retreat, followed by the police and the Malaysia Civil Defence Force.
Nora Anne, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared from the resort last year where she was staying with her London-based family, triggering a 10-day hunt involving helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of searchers.
Her body was discovered close to the jungle retreat and an autopsy found that she probably starved and died of internal bleeding after spending about a week in the dense rainforest.
The proceedings started today and is expected go on daily until August 28, before a break and will continue from September 1 to 4.
A total of 64 witnesses will be called to testify in the inquest.