Mother of British backpacker, 20, plans to meet killer and his mother
Mother of British backpacker, 20, who was stabbed to death in a hostel by a schizophrenic reveals plans to meet the killer and his mother and says ‘her pain is on par with mine’
- Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 20, was dragged from her hostel bed and stabbed to death
- Killer Smail Ayad, 30, had charges dropped after he was ruled mentally unsound
- Mia’s mother flew from home in Derbyshire, England, to attend court this month
- She said she would be open to meeting the killer and his mother in the future
The mother of a British backpacker who was murdered in Australia has revealed she plans to meet the killer and his mother.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 20, was dragged from her hostel bed and stabbed to death by Smail Ayad in the remote town of Home Hill, north Queensland in August 2016.
The 30-year-old Frenchman had criminal proceedings against him dropped after psychiatrists ruled he was suffering paranoid schizophrenia at the time.
This month, Mia’s mother flew from home in Derbyshire, England to attend Ayad’s mental health court proceedings in Brisbane.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung (pictured with a friend) was repeatedly stabbed by a man who reportedly developed an obsessive crush on her. She died in the bathroom of her dormitory
Mia’s mother Rosie Ayliffe (pictured), 54, has revealed she plans to meet the killer and his mother
Mia Ayliffe-Chung (pictured), 20, was dragged from her hostel bed and stabbed to death by Smail Ayad in the remote town of Home Hill, north Queensland in August 2016
When she finally locked eyes on the man who killed her only child, she was shocked by how old, broken and defeated he looked.
Rosie Ayliffe, 54, insisted she will never truly be able to forgive Ayad, who will now spend his days in a secure mental health unit.
She revealed she has spoken to Ayad’s mother and believes her grief at his actions is equivalent to the pain she has felt since Mia’s death.
Former teacher Ms Ayliffe said: ‘I wasn’t looking forward to the court hearing because I knew it was going to bring back the pain of what happened.
‘I had seen images of Mia’s killer in the press. To me, he looked like a very arrogant, testosterone driven, fighting man.
‘He killed my daughter, he killed the man who was trying to help her, and he killed a dog.
‘So, you can imagine the animalistic creature I had created in my mind.
‘But then I saw this figure in court who looked nothing like I imagined. He looked so old, he was shuffling, he was balding.
‘His body language suggested defeat. He just sat there quietly listening.
‘I was looking for the murderer and I thought ‘Who is this? What is going on?’ I was completely thrown. He just looked broken.
‘I don’t think it is my place to forgive him. I did offer him peace, but I stumble at forgiveness.
‘But I would be open to meeting him in the future.
This month, Mia’s mother (pictured together) flew from home in Derbyshire, England, to attend Ayad’s mental health court proceedings in Brisbane
Ms Ayliffe, 54, insisted she will never truly be able to forgive Ayad, who will now spend his days in a secure mental health unit. Pictured: Mia Ayliffe-Chung
‘I have spoken to his mum and I want her to know I understand it, and her loss is on a par with mine.
‘I don’t know if she would agree to meet with me, but I would definitely agree to meet her.
‘She had a son, who for all intents and purposes, was a loving, normal, young man who had everything to live for and was living the dream in Australia.
‘And then he was taken away from her. She is also suffering a loss, but she has to live with the shame of it as well.
‘It’s just so hard, because she hasn’t done anything wrong.’
Mia had been travelling the world for nearly a year before coming to Australia in early 2016 and after a stint working at a bar in Surfers Paradise, decided to extend her 417 visa by completing her 88 days farm work.
Just a week later, she was repeatedly stabbed by Ayad after he reportedly developed an obsessive crush on her, before passing away in the bathroom of her dormitory.
Ayad then jumped headfirst from a balcony – breaking his neck and back – before killing a pet dog and then fatally wounding British man Tom Jackson, 30, who had rushed to Mia’s aid.
Mia (pictured) had been travelling the world for nearly a year before coming to Australia in early 2016 and after a stint working at a bar in Surfers Paradise, decided to extend her 417 visa by completing her 88 days farm work
Earlier this month a judge ruled he would never face jail time, as a court heard he was was of unsound mind during the killings.
In an emotional statement, Ms Ayliffe told the court that her daughter Mia was ‘full of light, laughter and fun’ – and said she did not want Ayad to ‘rot in hell’.
She later revealed she felt angry at first about the mental health court’s judgement, but has now accepted Ayad is ‘insane’.
Ms Ayliffe said: ‘It was difficult to believe there wasn’t a degree of expediency in avoiding a criminal trial.
‘But I think you have to put faith in the professionals who are making the decision.
‘It can sometimes feel like justice is on a scale, and his punishment must weigh the same as our loss.
‘But there is no way it can work like that when you add mental illness to the equation.
‘I’ve accepted that he was not in control of his mind and was having a psychotic episode when he killed my daughter. There is no doubt that he is insane.
Since Mia’s death, Ms Ayliffe has channeled her pain into campaigning for tighter regulations on the compulsory farm work Brits must complete to obtain second-year visas to live in Australia. Pictured: Mia Ayliffe-Chung
‘I don’t want to become some raving, angry, vengeful person because that was never who I am, and that was never who Mia was.
‘It is weak to just react with hatred. Some people say things like ‘bring back the electric chair’.
‘But it’s just not part of my makeup, and I don’t want to become that person.
‘I’ve already lost Mia, and I don’t want to lose my own integrity because of this.’
Since Mia’s death, Ms Ayliffe has channeled her pain into campaigning for tighter regulations on the compulsory farm work Brits must complete to obtain second-year visas to live in Australia.
She says reforming the way young travellers are treated within the 88-day system would be an adequate legacy for Mia and Tom and is calling on the Australian government to take better measures to regulate the health and safety of backpacker farm work.
Ms Ayliffe said: ‘It makes me stronger to know I am helping other young people and they may be being kept safer because of what I am doing.
‘I have this sense that Mia is with me, not as a physical presence, but spiritually. I am guided by her and she is my moral compass.
‘I am proud to have been her mother, and I will hold her in my heart until I die.’
For more information on Ms Ayliffe’s campaign go to www.88daysandcounting.com
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