A British backpacker who was stabbed to death at a hostel in Australia had told a friend just hours earlier that her killer was sexually abusing her, a coroner has found.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung was killed in 2016 by mentally-ill Frenchman Smail Ayad, who also fatally wounded Mia’s friend Thomas Jackson when he bravely tried to save her.
The 20-year-old British woman was attacked at a hostel near Townsville where she had already complained about Ayad’s unwanted sexual advances, but he was not moved out of the dormitory room they shared.
Other guests had noticed Ayad’s behaviour change after Ms Ayliffe-Chung arrived at the hostel, and she told a friend that Ayad had been touching her and saying he ‘wanted her to be his girlfriend’.
Mr Jackson received a posthumous Queen’s Gallantry Medal for giving his life to try and protect Ms Ayliffe-Chung in the attack, while another man who also helped her – backpacker Daniel Richards – survived and received the same honour.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 20, had previously worked as a waitress in Surfers Paradise before travelling to north Queensland for a fruit picking work to extend her visa
Coroner Nerida Wilson published her findings on the killings on Wednesday, saying there was no need for a formal inquest because it was unlikely to lead to recommendations preventing similar deaths in the future.
Ayad, who was 29 at the time of the stabbings, was initially charged with two counts of murder, but these were later dropped after he was found to be of unsound mind.
Ms Ayliffe-Chung, who was at the tail end of a 12-month world trip, had worked as a waitress at Gold Coast venue The Bedroom just days before travelling to Home Hill in north Queensland.
The findings of the Coronial investigation reveal that someone, whose name was redacted from the report, said Ms Ayliffe-Chung had made complaints about Ayad, who she had just met after being put in the same room.
‘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,’ the witness said according to The Gold Coast Bulletin.
‘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 at this point.’
The person also claimed Ms Ayliffe-Chung complained that Ayad would follow her around, while other male backpackers reported he would make sexual comments about her and referred to her as his ‘wife’.
The owner of the backpackers’ hostel said the woman had not complained to her about Ayad.
About 11pm on the night of the fatal attacks, CCTV captured Ayad dragging Ms Ayliffe-Chung onto a balcony where he slashed her neck before ‘launching’ on her as she lay on the ground trying to defend herself from his knife.
Ayad then threw himself from the balcony, head first, with his arms extended as if he was attempting to fly, coroner Wilson said.
‘The scene at the hostel was one of chaos, confusion and fear,’ she said.
Ayad then returned to the hostel where Mr Jackson was attempting to help Ms Ayliffe-Chung.
‘What is the matter, calm down. What the f*** are you doing?’ Mr Jackson was heard asking before Ayad came at him with the knife.
Tom Jackson received a post-humous Queen’s Gallantry Medal for giving his life to try and protect Ms Ayliffe-Chung in the attack
Ayad, who was 29 at the time of the stabbings, was initially charged with two counts of murder, but these were later dropped after he was found to be of unsound mind
Mia Ayliffe-Chung pictured with her former boyfriend Jamison Stead
Ms Ayliffe-Chung died on a bathroom floor from a stab wound to her heart. She also suffered injuries to her head and neck.
Mr Jackson died in hospital six days later from a knife wound to his brain after being stabbed in his right eye, head, neck and chest.
Ms Wilson also said in her findings that Mr Jackson and another British male backpacker, Daniel Richards, who came to the aid of Ms Ayliffe-Chung had shown extraordinary bravery.
‘Both Mr Jackson and Mr Richards exhibited extraordinary bravery and compassion remaining with Mia rendering assistance whilst their own safety was still at risk,’ she said.
Mr Richards was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal by Prince William at a ceremony in London in 2018, while Mr Jackson’s family collected his medal posthumously.
Ayad remains in custody in a mental health facility in Australia but is expected to be deported to France.
He will be held in another mental health facility when he arrives in that country.
Ms Ayliffe-Chung, who was at the tail end of a 12 month world trip when she arrived in Australia