New details about what led to the Home Hill backpacker tragedy

Police are trying to determine if the alleged Home Hill killer had become dangerously infatuated with British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung before she was stabbed to death in Queensland’s far north.

The alleged attacker, Smail Ayad, was charged over Mia’s murder on Thursday but won’t appear in court in person on Friday due to concerns about his behaviour and the public’s safety.

Smail Ayad and Mia Ayliffe-Chung. Source: Facebook
Smail Ayad and Mia Ayliffe-Chung. Source: Facebook

Police confirmed Ayad attacked officers while under guard as he was being moved from hospital to the Townsville watch house, with officers forced to user tasers and capsicum spray.

“Police received some injuries including some cuts and abrasions but also a bite to the leg,” Supt Ray Rohweder said.

Smail Ayad, 29. Photo: Facebook.
Smail Ayad, 29. Photo: Facebook.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung. Source: 7News
Mia Ayliffe-Chung. Source: 7News


Instead, the 29-year-old will face a string of charges including murder, attempted murder, serious assault and animal cruelty via video link.

Police will also allege Ayad may have had cannabis in his system on the night of the attack, with drug testing to continue as he remains under heavy police guard.

Flowers left at the Home Hill scene. Source: 7News
Flowers left at the Home Hill scene. Source: 7News

It will be alleged Ayad used the phrase ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the attack where Mia Ayliffe-Chung was left to die on the floor of her room at the Shelley’s Backpackers hostel.

Fellow British national Tom Jackson was left fighting for life after the attack, suffering up to 20 knife wounds including one in the eye as he tried to get between the attacker and Ms Ayliffe-Chung.

Mr Jackson was one of 12 people injured in the stabbing attack as well as a dog, which was killed on Tuesday night.

Mia’s friend Chris Porter, who ran for his life and jumped out of a window during the violence, made a painful return to the hostel on Thursday after recovering at Ayr Hospital.

He’ll make his return to the Gold Coast later this week to continue his recovery.

Chris Porter leaves a Queensland hospital. Source: 7News
Chris Porter leaves a Queensland hospital. Source: 7News
Hostel owner John Norris. Source: 7News
Hostel owner John Norris. Source: 7News

The hostel’s 46-year-old manager John Norris is also recovering from wounds sustained in the knife attack.

“We’ve owned backpackers for 15 years and we’ve had a couple of hairy moments…. But nothing like this,” he said.

While officers are investigating whether Ayad developed an obsession with 21-year-old Mia Ayliffe-Chung, police say there is no evidence of any “romantic connection” from Mia before her death on Tuesday night.

Family and friends of the popular backpacker have remembered her as “an amazing woman with an adventurous spirit”.

Flowers left at the Home Hill scene. Source: 7News
Flowers left at the Home Hill scene. Source: 7News
Mia Ayliffe-Chung. Source: 7News
Mia Ayliffe-Chung. Source: 7News

“She was kind and funny … clever, sassy with a sense of fun,” Mia’s mother’s partner Stewart Cormack said from Derbyshire.

Fellow French backpacker Edward Moin, who worked alongside Ayad picking fruit on local farms, has told police he became concerned about the 29-year-old after comments he posted on Facebook.

Police at the Home Hill scene. Source: 7News
Police at the Home Hill scene. Source: 7News
The accused Smail Ayad. Source: 7News
The accused Smail Ayad. Source: 7News

"I am victim of an international economic conspiracy. I think that I am going to die. Those who love me, follow me. I love you all,” one post read.

As many as 30 people are believed to have witnesses some or all of the fatal attack with police working to piece together what happened on the night.

There were chaotic scenes in Home Hill as police and ambulances rushed to the hostel. Photo: 7 News
There were chaotic scenes in Home Hill as police and ambulances rushed to the hostel. Photo: 7 News


Tributes flow for killed backpacker

Tributes continue to pour in for Mia Ayliffe-Chung, the bubbly woman who was loved both in Australia and at her home abroad.

The 21-year-old worked at Surfers Paradise nightclub The Bedroom where her colleagues expressed their sadness over her death.

Ms Ayliffe-Chung's former boyfriend also shared a heartbreaking tribute to the 21-year-old online.

Tributes have poured onto social media for Mia Ayliffe-Chung from around the world. Photo: Supplied
Tributes have poured onto social media for Mia Ayliffe-Chung from around the world. Photo: Supplied

Australian photographer Jamison Stead shared two photos of himself and Mia along with the caption: “Rest in peace Mia. Thank you for the memories.”

Since news of the attack, tributes have flooded social media for the woman from Derbyshire.

A British woman who had stayed at the hostel praised the actions of the man who attempted to come to Ms Ayliffe-Chung's rescue.

"To all my friends and the one in particular who is in critical condition in hospital right now after no doubt being an absolute hero in this nightmare, my thoughts are with you and only you now," she wrote.

"If I could I would come back today to be with you.

"I'm sat on my bed in absolute sheer disbelief. RIP to the poor girl who's life has been taken."

Shelley's Backpackers in Home Hills, Queensland. Photo: Google Maps
Shelley's Backpackers in Home Hills, Queensland. Photo: Google Maps

A friend posted a tribute to Ms Ayliffe-Chung on his Facebook account writing, "Today the world has lost one of the most beautiful young women to ever walk this planet. Today I lost a best friend. A girl like no other, one of the happiest, full of energy, delightful, energetic and hilarious girl I've come across," Kyle Godwin wrote.

"Even though I've only known you for a short amount of time it feels like we have been best friends for years, we just seemingly clicked and were like two peas in a pod. I will miss you forever Mia. The only good news to come from this is that heaven has truly gained a beautiful soul. I love you Mia."

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