British Backpacker Murder Case Adjourned In Australia


(AFP) – A Frenchman charged with murdering a British woman in Australia had his case adjourned until October on Friday, as the father of a man wounded in the incident arrived from Britain to be with his son.

Smail Ayad, 29, is facing one count of murder over the stabbing death of Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, late Tuesday at a backpacker hostel in Home Hill, a rural town in north Queensland.

He is also charged with two counts of attempted murder over the stabbing of a 30-year-old British man — named in local media as Tom Jackson — who is fighting for life in hospital, and a 46-year-old Australian man who suffered non-life threatening wounds.

The French national did not appear in Townsville Magistrates Court Friday, with his lawyer Helen Armitage asking for the case to be adjourned.

“He is in custody but I don’t require him to be brought up,” Armitage told the court, the Townsville Bulletin reported.

“At this stage we request the matter be listed for a committal mention with a brief of evidence to be prepared.”

The case was adjourned until October 28 and there was no bail application made, with Ayad remanded in custody, a court officer told AFP.

Jackson’s father Les arrived in Townsville, a city some 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Home Hill, late Thursday to be by his son’s bedside.

Tom Jackson was hailed a hero by Queensland Police after the alleged attack for trying to help Ayliffe-Chung.

“There is no doubt Mr. Jackson attempted to render aid to Mia,” police Superintendent Ray Rohweder told Queensland’s Courier Mail.

“His subsequent actions were absolutely fantastic and I have no doubt that his actions on that day, as selfless, completely selfless as they were, led to the injuries that he now has.”

Police have alleged that Ayad said “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) during the attack and again when arrested, but have also said there were no signs of radicalisation.

“There has been no indication whatsoever that any radicalisation or any political motives existed that caused him to attack the people that he did,” Rohweder told reporters Thursday.

The Australian government has been increasingly concerned about extremism and in particular about home-grown radicalisation, keeping the terror threat alert level at high since September 2014.