The father of Eleanor Hawkins, the British backpacker blamed for triggering an earthquake by allegedly posing naked on Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalu, says she knows what she did was “disrespectful”.
Ms Hawkins, 23, is one of four western backpackers who were arrested after photos emerged of them allegedly stripping on the 13,400-foot mountain.
They are believed to have been part of a group of 10 people who stripped naked before taking photos at the mountain on 30 May.
Six days later, on 5 June, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the peak, killing 18 people and leaving hundreds more stranded.
The tourism minister for the state of Sabah, where the mountain is located, called the alleged stripping-off incident “totally abhorrent and totally unacceptable to be done on a sacred mountain”.
Today, Ms Hawkins’ father Tim said in a statement: “We managed to speak to Ellie yesterday morning and she is obviously quite scared and upset.
“She knows what she did was stupid and disrespectful, and is very sorry for the offence that she has caused the Malaysian people. “She has never been in any sort of trouble before.”
She knows what she did was stupid and disrespectful, and is very sorry for the offence that she has caused the Malaysian people. Tim Hawkins, Eleanor Hawkins’ father
The engineering graduate from Derby was arrested on Tuesday at Tawau airport as she was flying from Borneo to Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.
She now faces prosecution over allegations of indecent behaviour, which carries a possible three-month prison sentence or fine.
Mr Hawkins said: “We are not really sure what she has actually been charged with, apart from a blanket penal code section number.”
He said he thought his daughter was “preparing herself for the worst”.