British backpacker apologises for stripping on Malaysian mountain

Eleanor Hawkins was fined and jailed for three days for actions

 Eleanor Hawkins, who was convicted for stripping on a sacred Malaysian mountain. Photograph: Family handout/PA Wire

Eleanor Hawkins, who was convicted for stripping on a sacred Malaysian mountain. Photograph: Family handout/PA Wire

 

The British woman jailed for stripping on a sacred Malaysian mountain has apologised for causing offence.

Backpacker and university graduate Eleanor Hawkins appeared tearful as she read a statement outside her family home in Draycott, Derbyshire.

“I just want to say how relieved and happy I am to finally be home,” she said.

“I know my behaviour was foolish and I know how much offence we all caused to the local people of Sabah. For that, I am truly sorry.”

It brings to an end an arduous 10 days for the aeronautical engineering graduate, who was fined 5,000 Malaysian ringgit (€1,200) and sentenced to three days in jail — which she had already served — at a court hearing in Kota Kinabalu on Friday.

Ms Hawkins was arrested with three other backpackers earlier this week for posing naked on the mountainside, after being blamed by locals for causing an earthquake which killed 18 people.

The 23-year-old arrived back in the UK this morning.

Her mother Ruth said: “She knows what she did was wrong and disrespectful and she is deeply sorry for any offence caused to the people of Sabah and she has been appropriately and fairly judged by the Malaysian authorities and has served her sentence in full, the case is now closed.

“We would all now like Eleanor to be given the chance to recover, so we would really appreciate it if you would now afford us some privacy and allow her to get on with her life.

“We would like to thank again the British consulate officials who have support Ellie in Malaysia during this very difficult time.”

Several other backpackers who appeared in the photos remain wanted by police, according to reports.

A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck Mount Kinabalu on June 5th, killing 18 people and leaving hundreds more stranded. Sabah state deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan later blamed the quake on the travellers showing “disrespect to the sacred mountain”.

A recent graduate with a masters degree from Southampton University, Ms

Hawkins was in the middle of a gap year travelling around south-east Asia, which began in January. She went to Malaysia at the start of May and later that month travelled to Borneo.

PA