A tour guide who sexually assaulted a backpacker after she fell 45 metres from a cliff has had his sentence downgraded from 10 years to five years following a guilty plea.
Hannah Gavios, 23, was molested by tourist shop employee Apai Ruangwong in Thailand earlier this year. Gavios had approached Ruangwong’s tourist shop to ask directions back to her hotel. Instead, he let her to an isolated jungle area and tried to attack her.
Fearing for her life, Hannah ran from the scene. Unable to see in the darkness, she tripped and fell off a beach cliff, fracturing her spine.
Ruangwong followed her to where she lay, unable to move, and proceeded to molest her while she screamed for help.
“I honestly thought I was going to die,” Hannah says of the attack.
“I was screaming in pain. It was the most painful thing ever. I felt like a total vegetable. I felt completely vulnerable. I couldn’t move anything.
“I was stuck with this crazy person.”.
Although Ruangwong was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison, his sentence was halved last week.
In an email to The New York Times, Hannah's mother said the family was "dismayed that [the sentence] is automatically cut down to five years because of a guilty plea."
She emphasised that Hannah will be dealing with the results of the violent attack "for the rest of her life".
Hannah remains hospitalised in New York. She is still unable to walk following the incident, and her family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of medical bills.
Watch a PSA for Sexual Assault Awareness Month below.