A backpacker died in a hostel after a frenzied 10-second stabbing and her friend was killed trying to protect her, a coroner’s investigation has found.
A backpacker died in a hostel after a frenzied 10-second stabbing and her friend was killed trying to protect her, a coroner’s investigation has found.

Backpackers killed in horrifying and frenzied attack

BACKPACKER Mia Ayliffe-Chung died after a frenzied 10-second stabbing and her friend Tom Jackson was killed trying to protect her, a coroner's investigation has found.

Coroner Nerida Wilson has decided there will be no inquest into the deaths of the British backpackers who were killed by Frenchman Smail Ayad at a hostel in North Queensland in August 2016.

Ayad, who is still in a Queensland mental health institution, will never face trial after being found of "unsound mind", having symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia a month before his frenzied attack.

Ayad, then 29, took British backpacker Ms Ayliffe-Chung, 20, from her bed and stabbed her to death and then critically injured Tom Jackson, 30, who came to her aid. Mr Jackson later died in hospital, with a stab wound to his brain.

The Mental Health Court previously heard Ayad suffered from paranoid delusions and misinterpreted interactions with people.

Mia Ayliffe Chung and Tom Jackson were killed by Frenchman Smail Ayad at a hostel in North Queensland in August 2016.
Mia Ayliffe Chung and Tom Jackson were killed by Frenchman Smail Ayad at a hostel in North Queensland in August 2016.

As part of his delusions, which began up to a month and a half before the attack, there were up to 50 farmers who Ayad claimed wanted to kill him and backpackers were involved in the plot.

On the night of the murders Ayad had smoked two puffs of a joint about 7pm that was being passed around a group of backpackers.

He had smoked a joint with Mr Jackson and believed he was involved in the plot.

Ayad and Ms Ayliffe-Chung were in the same room at the hostel.

Coroner Wilson found other backpackers said that Ayad had referred to Ms Ayliffe-Chung as his wife and had a "focus" on her.

Ms Ayliffe-Chung told a farmer she was being harassed.

"Mia told me that she was in a room with two boys and that she was the only girl," they said, according to the coroner's findings.

"I remember that Mia told me there was a guy in her room that was getting too close to her, physically by touching her and was verbally harassing her.

"Mia said that he was saying things like that he wanted her to be his girlfriend and that he wanted sex from her. I didn't know who the male was that she was referring to as this point".

Smail Ayad
Smail Ayad

Coroner Wilson said that on the night of the attack Ayad forced Ms Ayliffe-Chung from their room and on to a balcony while holding a knife to her throat. Others at the hostel tried to get him to drop the knife.

He briefly moved the knife away from her neck before moving it to the left side of her head and made a swift cutting motion.

Ms Ayliffe-Chung fell to the ground. As she tried to protect herself Ayad stabbed her multiple times in her upper body -- in an attack lasting 10 seconds -- before she managed to run away. She had critical stab wounds.

Ms Ayliffe-Chung ran to the bathroom and Mr Jackson and fellow backpacker Daniel Richards went to her aid.

But Ayad would later kick the bathroom door in and fatally stab Mr Jackson. Ms Ayliffe-Chung died at the scene from a stab wound to her heart and Mr Jackson died in hospital.

"These shocking and unforeseen deaths occurred at the hands of a psychotic individual under the influence of cannabis," Coroner Wilson wrote.

"All persons present during these events were exposed to what can only be described as a horrifying and frenzied attack on two young people.

"Both Mr Thomas Leslie Jackson and Mr Daniel Leigh Richards exhibited extraordinary bravery and compassion remaining with Mia rendering assistance whilst their own safety was still at risk.

"Thomas sustained fatal injuries during those efforts. I express my sincerest condolences to both Mia and Thomas' parents, family, and friends for their tragic loss."

Coroner Wilson said no inquest would be held.

"I am in a position to formulate findings without recourse to an Inquest because of the extensive material and evidence before me," she wrote.

"I note that many key witnesses have dispersed and that Ayad remains in care pending repatriation to France.

"An inquest will not yield further meaningful information that will assist me to either arrive at a different conclusion, or to make recommendations to prevent similar deaths from happening in the future."

Originally published as Backpackers killed in 'horrifying and frenzied' attack



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