Hostel attack: Dad says he's proud of hero son

Ms Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, died in the knife attack at the backpacker hostel in Queensland.
Ms Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, died in the knife attack at the backpacker hostel in Queensland.

SYDNEY • The father of a Briton fighting for his life after a deadly stabbing at an Australian backpacker hostel has said he is proud of his son, who has been hailed as a hero by the police.

Mr Tom Jackson, 30, suffered critical head injuries in the attack by Frenchman Smail Ayad, 29, at the hostel in Home Hill, a rural town in the north of Queensland state.

"There are many and varied reasons why we are, and always will be, immensely proud of Tom," Mr Les Jackson said in a statement yesterday released by a hospital in Townsville, a city some 100km north of Home Hill, where his son is being treated. "His actions in response to this horrific attack only add to that sense of pride."

Fellow Briton Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, died in the incident late last Tuesday, while a 46-year-old Australian man had non-life-threatening wounds.

"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."

Ayad has been charged with the murder of Ms Ayliffe-Chung and is facing two counts of attempted murder for the attacks on Mr Jackson and the Australian man.

He remains in police custody with no bail application made. His case was adjourned until Oct 28.

The police had said 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," Supt Rohweder told reporters last Thursday.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2016, with the headline 'Hostel attack: Dad says he's proud of hero son'. Subscribe