Student fined by Malaysian court after sacred mountain naked picture prank

A family photo of Eleanor Hawkins.

A family photo of Eleanor Hawkins.

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A former Hampshire student blamed for triggering an earthquake after stripping on top of a sacred Malaysian mountain has been fined £1,000 and sentenced to three days in jail.

Backpacker Eleanor Hawkins, 23, and three other western tourists, who were also fined, have already served the time, the BBC and Sky News reported.

She had admitted to the public nuisance offence during an appearance at Kota Kinabalu Magistrates’ Court in Malaysia today.

The group of backpackers were arrested after photos emerged of them stripping naked on Mount Kinabalu.

Hawkins, an aeronautical engineering graduate from Derby, was arrested at Tawau airport on Tuesday as she was flying from the island of Borneo to the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Miss Hawkins appeared in court alongside three other defendants - Canadian siblings Lindsey and Danielle Petersen, and a Dutch man.

During the hearing, the four denied claims that they told their guides to “go to hell”, Sky News reported.

They faced a maximum of three months in jail for their offence.

A magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck the 13,400ft-high mountain last Friday, killing 18 people and leaving hundreds more stranded.

Sabah state deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan blamed the earthquake six days later on the travellers showing “disrespect to the sacred mountain”.

A recent graduate with a masters from Southampton University, Miss 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.

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