News, Culture & Society

Mother of British backpacker writes book about daughter’s life and calls for change

Devastated mum of British backpacker, 21, stabbed to death in a hostel calls for Australia to end ‘abuse and sexual exploitation’ of farm workers – as she exposes brutal realities of the ‘cruel’ system

  • Mother of killed British backpacker writes book on her life and death
  • Mia Ayliffe was killed by French tourist Smail Ayad in Queensland hostel in 2016
  • Her mother Rosie has dedicated her life to improving legislation around scheme

The mother of a British backpacker who was brutally stabbed to death in a hostel while doing her mandatory farm work has written a book calling for an end to the abuse and sexual exploitation of the system’s participants.

Mia Ayliffe, then just 21 years old, was stabbed to death by French tourist Smail Ayad in Home Hill in 2016 after working in a Queensland cane field to extend her visa. 

Rosie, Mia’s mother, has since dedicated her life to improving regulations, standards and communication around the government scheme to ensure a similar situation doesn’t happen again.

Her book, ‘Far from Home’, tells her story from the horrific moment she found out her daughter had been killed to coming to Australia and confronting the reality of life without her only child.

‘I spent days mopping tears off my MacBook,’ Mrs Ayliffe told news.com.au.

‘It was as tough as I thought but it was incredibly cathartic and it has been part of my journey to recovery in a way that I’d never imagined.’ 

Mia Ayliffe (pictured), then just 21-years-old, was stabbed to death by French tourist Smail Ayad in Home Hill in 2016 after working in a Queensland cane field to extend her visa

Mrs Ayliffe says the main aim of the book was as a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Mrs Ayliffe says the main aim of the book was as a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Rosie Ayliffe (pictured right with Mia left) has since dedicated her life to improving regulations, standards and communication around the government scheme

Rosie Ayliffe (pictured right with Mia left) has since dedicated her life to improving regulations, standards and communication around the government scheme

Mia lost her life on August 23, 2016 after Ayad allegedly dragged her from bed just before midnight. He was believed to have an obsession with the young Brit.

Another man, Tom Jackson, was also killed by Ayad heroically coming to the aid of Mia.

Ayad had legal charges dropped against him after a court ruled he had an unsound mind; instead sentencing him to 10 years in a psychiatric facility despite reports from witnesses in the hostel that he called Mia his ‘wife’ and regularly spoke of his sexual attraction to her. 

Upon coming to Australia to return her daughter’s body to England, Rosie Ayliffe was inundated with stories from other foreigners who had undergone their own trauma while working on farms to extend their tourist visas. 

‘I now understand that there’s a dark side to the backpacker culture – that people can find themselves at risk just like my daughter did,’ Ms Ayliffe told the ABC in 2017.

‘I want to see regulation of the 88 days. I want a central body which distributes backpackers among farms that are certified.’

Mia lost her life on August 23, 2016 after Ayad (pictured) allegedly dragged her from bed just before midnight. He was believed to have an obsession with the young Brit

Mia lost her life on August 23, 2016 after Ayad (pictured) allegedly dragged her from bed just before midnight. He was believed to have an obsession with the young Brit

Mrs Ayliffe says the main aim of the book was as a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Mrs Ayliffe says the main aim of the book was as a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy

Another man, Tom Jackson, was also killed by Ayad heroically coming to the aid of Mia at the Home Hill Hostel in 2016

Another man, Tom Jackson, was also killed by Ayad heroically coming to the aid of Mia at the Home Hill Hostel in 2016

Australia introduced its Modern Slavery Act in 2018, a legislation aimed at preventing the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of workers including that of backpackers undergoing mandatory visa farm work – something Mrs Ayliffe is ecstatic to have seen. 

‘It means that my daughter, and the brave man who tried to save her life, did not die in vain,’ she told News.

Mrs Ayliffe says the main aim of the book was as a tribute to her daughter and her lasting legacy.   

‘I want to memorialise Mia, and our relationship, that was a big part of it, and to express how I feel about her,’ she said.    



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk