A young British backpacker has been murdered after being stabbed by a man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ at a hostel in Queensland, Australia.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, from Belper in Derbyshire was attacked on Tuesday night along with a 30-year-old British man who was left critically injured.
She had been working as a waitress in Queensland for the last six months after heading to Indonesia to start her travels around a year ago, the Mirror reports.
Amy Browne, 19, from the Gold Coast, who worked as a bartender at the Bedroom Lounge Bar where Miss Ayliffe-Chung was a waitress, told the Press Association:
Mia was honestly the most bubbliest and most caring girl I knew.
She got along with everyone she met, she just had that gorgeous personality that everyone seemed to enjoy.
She always had a smile on her face, so innocent and full of life and love.
The stabbing, which was reportedly in front of up to 30 onlookers, took place at a hostel in the Home Hill area of Queensland – about 100km south of Townsville – at around 11.15pm local time on Tuesday, reports The Guardian.
Police arrested the 29-year-old suspect, who was a French traveller, and were investigating whether the ‘senseless’ attack was motivated by Islamic extremism.
Steve Gollschewski, a deputy police commissioner, said:
We could be dealing with a pure criminal act or something related to mental health or drug issues.
We are not ruling out any motivations at this stage. We wish to reassure the community — we are not looking for anyone else.
It was a shocking attack by any standards.
— 3AW Melbourne (@3AW693) August 24, 2016
Gollschewski added at a press conference in Brisbane that investigators are also considering whether ‘mental health or drug misuse’ issues were a factor in the attack alongside any ‘indication of an extremist slant or he was radicalised’. He said: “This is not about race or religion, it is about individual criminal behaviour.”
Police are not searching for anyone else and there is ‘no ongoing threat to the community’, he said.
This is a tragic and disturbing incident. Our thoughts are with Mia’s family and friends at this sad time.