A young British woman was fatally stabbed by a UFC-model obsessed man while staying at a hostel in North Queensland, Australia on Tuesday night.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung, the victim of the attack, had been on her dream trip of a lifetime before she arrived at Shelley’s Backpackers hostel in Home Hill, near Townsville.
The 21-year-old, who is from Wirksworth, Derbyshire in the United Kingdom, had reportedly fallen in love with Australia and wanted to settle down there.
She made the move from Surfers Paradise, on Australia’s Gold Coast to the hostel less than two weeks ago to work on a farm in order to extend her visa.
On Tuesday night, 29-year-old Frenchman Smail Ayad went on a bloody stabbing rampage and targeted Chung. Ayad, a kickboxing champion, is being charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder, 12 counts of serious assault and one charge of animal cruelty.
Before the attack, Ayad penned a series of Facebook posts on his wall indicating that he was the “victim of an international economic conspiracy.” According to BBC, he wrote the following ambiguous message:
“I think I will die. Whoever loves me, please follow me. I love you all.”
The attacker also reportedly typed “Viva La France” and posted pictures of himself at a boxing event that took place in Thailand in January.
According to witnesses, Ayad screamed “Allahu Akbar” as he carried out his attack of Chung in her dorm room before going after other hostel guests. Australian police believe there is a possibility of an unrequited romantic interest, but no evidence of religious radicalization or political motives are involved.
After probing through Ayad’s social media accounts, Australian police were led to believe the man had an obsession with UFC ring model Arianny Celeste, who bears a striking resemblance to Chung.
Law enforcement found hundreds of Celeste’s pictures bookmarked online by the attacker.
Ayad had also allegedly told other hostel guests that he and Chung were “deeply in love.” He was enraged when he found out she had posed for photos in a magazine and that she didn’t reciprocate his affections.
Ray Rohweder, detective superintendent at Queensland Police Service, said:
“I don’t believe there was any romance. Certainly not from Mia’s point of view.”
Rohweder also mentioned that Ayad may have consumed marijuana before carrying out the attack. He said:
“We have indication he may have consumed cannabis but not evidence of anything harder or alcohol.”
Tom Jackson, a British traveler staying at the hostel, was another victim of Ayad’s bloodbath. In an attempt to save Chung, Jackson received 30 stabbings to his body that included his face, neck and chest. Jackson is currently in critical condition.
Another guest at the hostel, Chris Porter, fractured both his ankles during the incident. According to his brother, the 21-year-old had jumped off the balcony of the hostel in order to escape Ayad. A dog at the hostel was also killed by Ayad.
Police arrested Ayad by wrestling him to the ground and handcuffing him. He reportedly bit a detective in the leg while in the van that was driving to the station and was subdued with pepper spray and a taser. Ayad is scheduled to appear in Townsville Magistrates Court on Friday.
According to her Facebook profile, Chung studied childcare at a college in Buxton, a part of the University of Derby, and psychology at Chesterfield College. She told close friends and family that she was “living my dream” after traveling to Morocco, Dubai, Thailand, India and Vietnam.
While in Australia, she was in a relationship with 23-year-old Jamison Stead. According to Stead, the two had broke up a few weeks before the attack.
The couple had met through mutual friends in Surfers Paradise in April when she worked as a bartender at The Bedroom lounge. Stead told The Sun:
“She was living in surfers on the Gold Coast and planning on exploring Australia with the intention to find a sponsorship as she wanted to stay here. She had fallen in love with the country and its people.
“I can’t quite get my head around what’s happened. Truly devastated, more just disbelief that this has happened. It’s something you hear about but never think that it would happen to someone you were close to.”