The mother of the 21-year-old British backpacker stabbed to death in a Queensland hostel has described her daughter as an “amazing young women with an adventurous spirit” that was “full of the kind of “open-minded compassion for life that you don’t see that often”.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung, from Derbyshire, was fatally injured when fellow hostel occupant, 29-year-old French citizen Smail Ayad, stabbed her in front of a crowd of 30 people. Fellow Briton Tom Jackson, 30, was severely injured in the attack, and is currently in a critical condition in a Townsville hospital. He received wounds to the eye, head and torso.
Home Hill backpackers hostel where the attack occurred.
Police are investigating claims from onlookers that Ayad shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack. Fellow French nationals claim that he shouted constantly throughout the attack and what he was saying was largely nonsensical.
It is alleged that Ayad was obsessed with Ayliffe-Chung, and told fellow hostel guests that he planned to marry her. Ayliffe-Chung was staying at the hostel while working on a Queensland farm. She had been travelling the world prior to her arrival in Australia, where she worked briefly as a waitress on the Gold Coast.
Her mother, Rosie Ayliffe, issued a statement after her daughter’s death:
My beloved daughter Mia was an amazing young women with an adventurous spirit. Not only was she kind and funny, she was clever, sassy, with a sense of fun.
Mia was full of the kind of open-minded compassion for life that you don’t see that often. It felt as though she was reminding us all of the beauty and possibilities we each have and that we should live life to the full. She was always at one with herself, so whole.
Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the investigation will continue, with potential probes into Ayad’s links to extremism.
“While this information will be factored into the investigation we are not ruling out any motivations at this stage, whether they be political or criminal,”
“We’re working closely with our partner agencies to make sure if there is any indication that it has an extremist slant, or this person had been radicalised, we can discover that.”
“Investigators will also consider whether mental health or drug misuse factors are involved in this incident.”