Nora Anne Quoirin inquest: Cop says unable to perform full fingerprint comparison on victim as Interpol sent samples for only two fingers

Assistant registrar at Bukit Aman’s Criminal Registration Centre Puwira Jaya Othman at the Seremban Court complex October 23, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Assistant registrar at Bukit Aman’s Criminal Registration Centre Puwira Jaya Othman at the Seremban Court complex October 23, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

SEREMBAN, Oct 23 — A full comparison between the fingerprints lifted from a window at the jungle resort and Irish-French teenager Nora Anne Quoirin who had holidayed there last year could not be completed, the Coroner’s Court heard today.

Testifying at Quoirin’s inquest, Puwira Jaya Othman said Malaysian police sought Interpol’s help to obtain a full set of the teen’s fingerprint samples since those taken after her body was found had inadequate features.

The assistant registrar at Bukit Aman’s Criminal Registration Centre was the 34th witness and said he had been instructed to analyse four unsolved latent fingerprints lifted from a window at the villa where Quoirin had supposedly exited and disappeared on August 13, 2019.

He said that Malaysian police had through Interpol’s National Central Bureau here asked the Interpol in Paris to provide samples of Quoirin’s 10 fingers.

However, he said the Interpol only gave two samples: Quoirin’s index and middle finger. 

He added that he then performed a comparison based on the samples provided, but was unable to get proper identification.

“Perhaps if we had obtained all 10 of her fingerprints, there is a possibility that they may belong to Nora Anne,” Puwira Jaya said of the latent fingerprints.

He explained that unsolved latent fingerprints were fingerprints left by an unknown person on a surface by deposits of oils or perspiration from the finger.

“After comparing, I found that all unsolved latent fingerprints do not match those of Nora Anne,” he added.

Puwira Jaya also explained in the inquest that the quality of fingerprints can degrade drastically when exposed to extreme temperatures whether heat through a fire, or if submerged in water over a prolonged period.

His testimony today affirmed previous remarks about Quoirin’s fingerprints by the former Negri Sembilan Criminal Investigations Department chief Assistant Commissioner Wan Rukman Wan Hassan.

Wan Rukman testified previously that investigators had trouble obtaining fingerprints samples from Quoirin’s finger as they had shrivelled following exposure to the environment.

Earlier today, another police officer from Bukit Aman Rabidin Mohd Zin told the inquest that there is no definite lifespan for fingerprints as it was determined by several factors.

“There is no scientific method to determine the age of a fingerprint but in normal circumstances, fingerprints can last from several days to several weeks depending on the environment it was discovered in,” said Rabidin, also an assistant registrar at Bukit Aman’s Criminal Registration Centre.

He was the 33rd witness in the hearing investigating Quoirin’s death.

Rabidin listed perspiration, environment and physical disturbance as examples that could affect the quality of fingerprints.

Asked to describe a perfect fingerprint, Rabidin said that in his experience the crease imprint must be clear regardless if it was from a partial or complete fingerprint to allow for comparison to be performed.

Rabidin also said fingerprints left on a surface last longer than those left on a person’s body.

He also affirmed several reports he filed which detailed the comparison of four latent fingerprints lifted from a window where Quoirin supposedly exited provided to him by the investigating officer in his capacity as the assigned fingerprint analyser at the material time last year.

Quoirin, a 15-year-old with learning difficulties, disappeared from The Dusun resort last year where she had been staying with her London-based family, triggering a 10-day hunt involving helicopters, search dogs and hundreds of searchers.

Her nude body was later 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.

Hearing before Coroner Maimoonah Aid is scheduled to resume on November 11.