Tuesday 6 December 2016

Young British woman (21) killed in Australian backpackers' hostel attack by knifeman 'shouting Allahu Akbar

Man is also fighting for his life after the attaclk

Nina Massey

Published 24/08/2016 | 06:19

Mia Ayliffe-Chung, from Derbyshire, was described as 'gorgeous' by friends
Mia Ayliffe-Chung, from Derbyshire, was described as 'gorgeous' by friends
Home Hill backpackers hostel in Queensland, Australia, where a 21-year-old woman has died and a 30-year-old British man is in a critical condition after being stabbed by a man who allegedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the attack : Google Street View/PA Wire

A 21-year-old British woman has been stabbed to death at a backpackers' hostel in Australia by an attacker shouting "Allahu Akbar".

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As well as fatally injuring Mia Ayliffe-Chung, the 29-year-old French man left a 30-year-old Briton - named locally as Tom Jackson - fighting for his life.

The knife attack took place at Shelley's Backpackers accommodation in the Home Hill area of Queensland at about 11.15pm local time on Tuesday, police said.

Miss Ayliffe-Chung, from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, was only days into a three-month trip to the country. She had been working as a waitress and with animals on a farm so she could extend her working holiday visa.

Mia Ayliffe-chung, who has been named locally as the 21-year-old British woman who has died after being stabbed at a backpackers' hostel in Australia by a man shouting
Mia Ayliffe-chung, who has been named locally as the 21-year-old British woman who has died after being stabbed at a backpackers' hostel in Australia by a man shouting "Allahu Akbar" Credit: Tommy Martin/PA Wire
Amy Browne with Mia Ayliffe-chung (right), who has been named locally as the 21-year-old British woman who has died after being stabbed at a backpackers' hostel in Australia by a man shouting "Allahu Akbar" Credit: Amy Browne/PA Wire

Friends have been paying tribute to both Britons since hearing of the attack.

Samantha Harrison wrote on Facebook: "Tom Jackson was a very close friend and one of the most amazing people I have ever met. Now Tom I need you too stay strong and beat this for yourself and all of your friends and family who love you."

While Amy Browne, 19, from the Gold Coast, who worked as a bartender at the Bedroom Lounge Bar, where Miss Ayliffe-Chung was a waitress, told the Press Association: "Mia was honestly the most bubbliest and most caring girl I knew.

"She got along with everyone she met, she just had that gorgeous personality that everyone seemed to enjoy.

"She always had a smile on her face, so innocent and full of life and love. Our memories will be cherished forever and I know she'd want us all to stay positive in the darkest of times. Rest in peace my beautiful friend, heaven has truly gained another angel."

Queensland deputy police commissioner Steve Gollschewski said all motivations for the attack were being considered, including criminal and political, as well as the impact of drugs and mental health problems.

Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski Credit: ABC News
Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski Credit: ABC News

He continued: "Initial inquiries indicate that comments which may be construed as being of an extremist nature were made by the alleged offender.

"It is alleged that the suspect used the phrase 'Allahu Akbar' during the attack and when arrested by police."

Mr Gollschewski added Miss Ayliffe-Chung was the first person to be attacked and the incident was being treated as a murder case, not a terror attack.

Police said up to 30 people witnessed the "senseless act of violence" in which a 46-year-old local man, named as Grant Scholz, also suffered non life-threatening injuries - and a dog was killed.

The suspect was arrested and transferred to hospital for treatment for minor injuries, and was captured on police body-cams uttering the phrase Allahu Akbar - which means God is Greatest in Arabic.

Detective Superintendent Ray Rohweder added he was not known to police, and detectives were still trying to discover what he had been doing in the country since his arrival.

The attacker is believed to have been acting alone and police have retrieved a knife, thought to have been the weapon involved in the stabbing.

A spokeswoman from the British High Commission in Canberra said: "We are working with local authorities and providing support to the families after one British national was killed and another critically injured in an incident in Australia.

"Our thoughts are with the families at this difficult time. High Commission staff have deployed to Townsville and we remain in close contact with local authorities."

Press Association

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