Man charged after murder of British backpacker

A 29-year-old Frenchman has been charged in Australia with the murder of British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung. Queensland Police have named the suspect as Smail Ayad.

He was also charged with two counts of attempted murder, 12 counts of serious assault and one count of serious animal cruelty.

Ayliffe-Chung, who was aged 21 and came from Derbyshire, died after being stabbed in Home Hill, near Townsville, on Tuesday night.

Another British traveller, 30-year-old Tom Jackson, remains in a critical condition in hospital having also been stabbed in the attack after he tried to intervene.

A third person involved in the incident, 46-year-old Grant Scholtz sustained minor injuries and has been released from hospital.

Reports say horrific CCTV footage exists of the attack in which a dog at Shelley’s backpackers’ hostel was also killed.

A post-mortem examination was due to be conducted on Ayliffe-Chung today at 12:30 local time.

A statement released by the family of Ayliffe-Chung said: “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 that we should live life to the full.

“Mia was a rare person who saw beyond race, creed and belief. She would always treat others with dignity, respect and kindness.

“As a peaceful person Mia had huge respect for everybody. She would not want to be the reason for any hostilities caused by any misrepresentations of the events.”

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