Eleanor Hawkins: British woman arrested for 'posing naked on Malaysia mountain' knows act was 'stupid and disrespectful', says father

Ms Hawkins is among 10 Westerners who allegedly posed for a picture – an act which local authorities say caused an earthquake in Borneo

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A British woman arrested in Malaysia after allegedly posing naked on the peak of a sacred mountain could face up to three months in prison.

Timothy Hawkins revealed last night that he had spoken to his daughter Eleanor Hawkins, 23, on the phone and she was very distressed.

He said: "We spoke to her this morning. She's okay, she's very scared, she's very upset.

"She's been arrested. It's not a situation she's been in before so it's not good."

A group of ten tourists were blamed for causing a deadly earthquake after they stripped on Malaysia's Mount Kinabalu

Ms Hawkins, from Derby, was detained on Tuesday at Tawau airport as she was flying from the island of Borneo to the capital Kuala Lumpur.

In a statement, Mr Hawkins added that his daughter "knows what she did was stupid and disrespectful and is very sorry for the offence that she has caused the Malaysian people".

Describing the aeronautical engineering graduate as a "very intelligent, stoic young woman" he said she was mentally preparing herself for the worst outcome.

Ms Hawkins, who studied at Southampton University, is one of five Westerners being held and investigated for indecent behaviour on top of Mount Kinabalu on 30 May.

They are believed to be part of a group of 10 who stripped naked at the peak and then took photos which were then circulated on social media. If they are found guilty of obscenity charges, they could face three months in prison.

The act was blamed by Sabah deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan for causing a subsequent 5.9 magnitude earthquake which killed 18 climbers last week.

He said a special ritual will be conducted to "appease the mountain spirit".eleanor-hawkins.jpg

Mr Hawkins, who runs a mechanical engineering business, admitted his daughter is "obviously in the photos" but he did not want the situation to be "blown out of all proportion".

"It's fair enough to charge for the misdemeanour committed," he said. "What we don't want is her lumbered with further charges."

He criticised the actions of an arrested Canadian man - named in reports as 33-year-old Emil Kaminski - who circulated the photos and posted offensive comments on social media calling a Malaysian tourism minister an "idiot" and adding: "Jesus Christ people, it's just a f****** mountain."

Mr Hawkins added: "What I will say is the guy stirring up a media storm - the halfwit Canadian guy - is not doing anyone any favours."

Additional reporting by PA