Criminal charges against man accused of murdering Derbyshire backpacker in Australia dropped

Mia Ayliffe-Chung
Mia Ayliffe-Chung

The mum of a Derbyshire backpacker murdered in Australia has spoken of her heartache - after criminal charges against the man accused of the killing were dropped.

Mia-Ayliffe Chung, 21, from Wirksworth died after being stabbed at the Shelley's Backpackers hostel in Queensland in August 2016. Tom Jackson, 30, from Congleton in Cheshire, was seriously injured as he tried to save Mia and died a few days after the attack.

Rosie Ayliffe.

Rosie Ayliffe.

French national Smail Ayad was charged with the murder of Mia and Tom, as well as a number of other offences.

But on Thursday, the criminal charges against him were dropped and he was instead sent to a mental health facility.

In an victim impact statement read out during the hearing at Brisbane Mental Health Court, Mia's mum Rosie Ayliffe said: "Mia was full of light, laughter and fun. She was an absolute joy to be around, and she was loved by countless people both here in Derbyshire and around the world.

"The tributes came from all over the world too, about how kind Mia was, how tolerant of others, how full of love for everyone she met, how she would stop and speak to mothers in the slums of Mumbai or Essaouira and play with their children, or dance with homeless people in the city streets in the UK.

"Many many nights I lie awake, thinking about my daughter's last moments, and how it must have felt for her to lie dying.

"Did she feel pain? Did she know she was going? The images haunt me, waking and sleeping."