A 29-year-old French national has been charged over the murder of 21-year-old British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung at a Queensland hostel on Monday night.
Smail Ayad also faces two counts of attempted murder, serious animal cruelty, and twelve counts of assault for the attack which also left 30-year-old Briton Tom Jackson in a critical condition.
Another local man sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the stabbing attack, and a dog was also killed during the incident.
Detective Superintendent Ray Rowheder also claims Ayad lashed out in an “extremely violent manner” while being transported from Townsville Hospital yesterday afternoon, with police officers allegedly suffering “cuts and abrasions but also a bite to the leg.”
Witnesses allege Ayad yelled “Allahu Akbar” at the time of the attack at Shelley’s Backpackers, and during his arrest.
Despite Ayad’s alleged use of the Islamic phrase for “God is great”, Det. Supt. Rowheder said “there is absolutely no indication of any former radicalisation.”
Yesterday, Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said “this is not about race or religion – it is individual criminal behaviour.”
Ayad is set to appear in Townsville Magistrates Court tomorrow.
Friends and family have offered tributes to Ayliffe-Chung online. Former partner Jamison Stead wrote
“Mia was a girl who lived life as spontaneously as possible. She had a passion for life and it was contagious if you knew her.”
Earlier, her mother Rosie Ayliffe said “
Mia was full of the kind of open-minded compassion for life that you don’t see that often.”