A British tourist, who was deported from Malaysia for posing topless on a sacred mountain, has apologised for her “foolish behaviour”.
Eleanor Hawkins returned to the UK this morning after spending three days in custody.
The 23-year-old aeronautical engineering graduate pleaded guilty at a Malaysian court on Friday (12 June) to taking her clothes off on Mount Kinabalu on Borneo on 30 May, along with a group of other tourists.
Speaking outside the family home in Derbyshire, she said she was relieved and happy to be home and regretted her conduct.
Supported by her parents Tim and Ruth, she told the media: “I know how much offence we all caused to the people of Sabah and for that I’m truly sorry.”
Accepting the penalty imposed on her daughter, her mother said: “She realises what she did was wrong and disrespectful and she is deeply sorry for any offence caused to the people of Sabah. Eleanor has been appropriately and fairly judged by the Malaysian authorities and has served her sentence in full and the case is now closed.”
Miss Hawkins’s father Timothy previously said the sentence his daughter received was “appropriate” and “fair”.
Eleanor, who has been dubbed the “naked backpacker”, and Canadians Danielle and Lindsey Petersen and Dutchman Dylan Snel were sentenced to three days in jail and fined Â£1,000 after they pleaded guilty to “committing an obscene act in a public place to the annoyance of others”.
The court had heard that the group had been making a large amount of noise and some had urinated in a pond during the incident, offending tribal elders in the area.
Some Malaysians blamed the group’s actions for a 6.0 magnitude earthquake, which left 18 people dead and hundreds stranded.
Photos of the topless tourists were also posted on the internet, infuriating many Malaysians due to the sacred nature of the World Heritage Site.
Because they had already spent three days in custody while awaiting their court appearance, they were immediately released and ordered to leave the country.