Saturday 10 December 2016

Ashes of young backpacker stabbed to death in hostel to be scattered around world

Hannah Stubbs and Ryan Hooper

Published 28/08/2016 | 19:46

Mia Ayliffe-Chung died after being stabbed at a backpackers' hostel in Australia (Tommy Martin/PA)
Mia Ayliffe-Chung died after being stabbed at a backpackers' hostel in Australia (Tommy Martin/PA)

The mother of British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung said her daughter's ashes will be scattered around the world so she "can visit places" she will now never discover.

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Rosie Ayliffe also discussed coming to terms with her loss, after her 21-year-old daughter was stabbed to death in Australia on Tuesday, allegedly by 29-year-old Frenchman Smail Ayad, police said.

Writing in a daily blog for The Independent, Ms Ayliffe, from Wirksworth in Derbyshire, described plans for her daughter's cremation as she prepares to head for Australia to collect the ashes.

Ms Ayliffe said: "I know some of her friends are struggling with that (the decision to cremate her 'sooner rather than later'), because they wanted her body brought home and a cremation or burial here in the Wirksworth area, but she has friends all over the place.

"Hence the plan to create a place of remembrance here, but also to give various people vials of Mia's ashes to scatter in places dear to her or to them. That way she can visit places she hasn't visited yet. Canada, New Zealand, Singapore."

She added: "I've been told by the family liaison police that I'm at the beginning of a journey and that I'll experience many emotions. For the past few days the emotions have been at bay, to the extent that I was starting to question yesterday whether I was grieving at all.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung, from Derbyshire, was described as 'gorgeous' by friends
Mia Ayliffe-Chung, from Derbyshire, was described as 'gorgeous' by friends

"At the moment the only way I can really cope with our loss is to think Mia's time had come and what happened in that hostel on Tuesday was her fate. It was always going to happen like that."

She said of the alleged killer: "Smail Ayad ... is not an Islamic fundamentalist, he has never set foot in a mosque."

Meanwhile, the family of a Briton injured in the stabbing have said they are "immensely proud" of him after he tried to save Ms Ayliffe-Chung's life.

Tom Jackson, 30, received critical injuries when he tried to help his compatriot.

His father Les Jackson issued a statement also praising the work of medical staff at Townsville Hospital in Queensland, where his son is being treated.

He said: "There are many and varied reasons why we are, and always will be, immensely proud of Tom.

Google Street View image of Home Hill backpackers' hostel in Queensland, where Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, from Derbyshire, was stabbed to death and a 30-year-old British man was left in a critical condition after being attacked by a Frenchman man shouting Allahu Akbar
Google Street View image of Home Hill backpackers' hostel in Queensland, where Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, from Derbyshire, was stabbed to death and a 30-year-old British man was left in a critical condition after being attacked by a Frenchman man shouting Allahu Akbar

"His actions in response to this horrific attack only add to that sense of pride.

"As a family we have been comforted by the help and support offered by our friends and family at home and in Australia who have been wonderful."

Ayad has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, one count of serious animal cruelty and 12 counts of serious assault.

He did not appear in court on Friday but was remanded in custody and his case has been adjourned until October 28.

Police are investigating reports that the Frenchman had an unrequited romantic interest or an "obsession" with Miss Ayliffe-Chung.

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