American backpacker’s family hit out at Thai sex attacker’s five-year sentence
October 30, 2016
The family of an American backpacker who was sexually assaulted after she fell 150ft down a cliff in Thailand have hit out at her attacker’s five-year jail sentence.
Hannah Gavios, 23, broke her back and lay helpless trapped on rocks while Apai Ruangwong, 28, subjected her to a 10-hour ordeal on September 1.
She was rescued the next morning but still has no feeling in her ankles, feet and backside, and is having to learn to walk again.
Ruangwong was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison but that has been halved after he pleaded guilty to obscene behavior and causing serious injury.
Hannah’s mother Gwen, who is trying to raise money for her daughter’s medical treatment, said: “I am dismayed that it is automatically cut down to five years because of a guilty plea.“
Paralysed - Hannah is still learning to walk again (Pictures: SWNS)
Hannah had been teaching English in Vietnam when she took a holiday to Railay Beach in the resort of Krabi, arriving on September 1.
She encountered Ruangwong when she asked for help finding her way back to her hotel. He offered to show her the way but instead led her into the jungle where he tried to assault her.
Hannah fought him off and fled but ran off the edge of a cliff in the darkness, fracturing her spine leaving her trapped at the bottom of the cliff, where Ruangwong repeatedly sexually molested her for several hours as she lay helpless.
He later returned with other people who raised the alarm and his victim was rescued and taken to hospital.
At the time, Hannah said: ‘I honestly thought I was going to die. I felt like a total vegetable. I felt completely vulnerable. I couldn’t move anything. He didn’t rape me but he did everything else. ”
She was flown home to Queens, New York where she is still undergoing intensive treatment and her parents Gwen and Aaron are now trying to raise up to $200,000 to help her walk again - expenses not covered by her insurance.
Gwen said: “We’re raising funds to pay for medical bills, medical equipment, psychotherapy, and physical therapy which will not be fully covered by our insurance company.
'”Hannah’s recovery period is expected to last up to two years or more, and many of the expenses, such as physical therapy will not be covered after several months.”