Posing nude
Mount Kinabalu is considered sacred by Borneo's Kadazan Dusun peoplesThe Star/Asia News Network

A British tourist who posed naked on Mount Kinabulu has been told by Malaysian tribal chiefs that she must sacrifice 10 buffalo to escape prison, according to reports.

Eleanor Hawkins, 23, is part of a group of Western backpackers who have been accused of public indecency after stripping on the sacred mountain on May 30. She has now pleaded guilty to the offence and could face up to three years in jail.

The tourists have been subsequently blamed by locals for causing an 5.9 magnitude earthquake that happened 18 days later and claimed 18 lives.

The Southampton University student was said to be "very sacred and very upset".

Her father said yesterday: "She's been arrested. It's not a situation she's been in before so it's not good. We've talked to the consulate and arranged a lawyer."

He hoped the incident would not be "blown out of all proportion".

Her naked photos caused a storm after they were posted on Twitter.

Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the deputy chief minister for the state of Sabah, said that the backpackers had shown "disrespect to the sacred mountain" and that a special ritual will be conducted to "appease the mountain spirit".