A heroic British backpacker died after being stabbed in the brain when he tried unsuccessfully to protect a woman from an attack by a ‘psychotic’ French knifeman at an Australian hostel, an inquest has heard.
Thomas Jackson, 30, came to the rescue of Mia Ayliff-Chung, 20 after she was stabbed several times at a hostel in Home Hill, Queensland, on August 23, 2016.
Schizophrenic French backpacker Smail Ayad was “psychotic and under the influence of cannabis” when he carried out the deadly attack.
Miss Ayliff-Chung, from Derbyshire, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Mr Jackson, from Congleton, died of his serious injuries six days later at Townsville Hospital.
More than five years after the horrific double murder, an investigation into Mr Jackson’s death is underway at Warrington Coroners Court.
The court heard today that he suffered at least 12 separate injuries in the attack, but the medical cause of death was a stab wound to the brain.
An inquest has been launched into the death of Tom Jackson (pictured) who was stabbed in a Queensland hostel
Mia Ayliffe-Chung (pictured) was also stabbed to death during the attack in August 2016. Mr. Jackson came to her rescue
Schizophrenic French backpacker Smail Ayad was ‘psychotic and under the influence of cannabis’ when he carried out the deadly attack
The scene at the hostel in Home Hill, south of Townsville, where Mrs. Ayliffe-Chung and Mr. Jackson died in August 2016
Assistant Coroner Peter Sigee said it was “appropriate” that the findings of the Queensland coroner’s report, dated June 30, 2020, should be the “only evidence to receive and consider”.
Summarizing the evidence in the report, Mr Sigee added: ‘The various individuals involved in this incident stayed at the hostel while traveling on a work visa and doing paid work on a local farm.
“Mr Smail Ayad carried out a frenzied knife attack on Miss Mia Ayliff-Chung, seriously injuring her.
“Miss Ayliff-Chung was able to escape and lock herself in a bathroom. Mr. Ayad then jumped off a second floor balcony as if trying to fly and landed on his back.
“Mr. Jackson went to the aid of Mr. Ayad, not knowing what had happened at the hostel.”
The inquest heard that another backpacker, Daniel Richards, found Miss Ayliff-Chung in the bathroom and yelled that she had been stabbed, at which point Mr. Jackson ran inside.
The coroner continued: ‘Mr Ayad went back to the hostel, still with a knife in his hand, screaming and gesturing.
“Despite knowing that Mr Ayad had seriously stabbed Mrs Ayliff-Chung and that Mr Ayad remained armed and dangerous in the hostel, Mr Jackson made no attempt to escape to a safe place, but remained with Miss Ayliff-Chung in an effort to take care of her and prevent further harm to her.”
Tom Jackson was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal on what would have been his 33rd birthday for his heroic actions
Ms Ayliffe-Chung (pictured) had traveled the world for nearly a year before arriving in Australia in 2016
Daniel Richards (pictured) comforted Mrs Ayliffe-Chung in her final moments, despite a risk to his own safety. He also received a Queen’s Gallantry Medal
Ayad forced his way into the bathroom, where Mr. Jackson tried to calm him down, but he was then attacked and sustained multiple stab wounds.
The inquest found that an Australian mental health court later determined that Ayad was “out of his senses” at the time of the attack. The criminal trial was stopped.
Taking up a narrative conclusion, Mr. Sigee said: ‘Mr. Jackson died of knife injuries inflicted on him by a person of unsound mind, while Mr. Jackson acted with great courage and gallantry in protecting and caring for a seriously injured person. person.’
After the inquest today, Mr Jackson’s parents, Leslie and Sandra, paid tribute to their son.
They said to CheshireLive, ‘We think about him all the time.’
Sandra added, “I’ll never get over it. You just learn to live with it.’
The parents said their son, who was an avid Liverpool fan, was an experienced traveler, having spent 18 months in India, Malaysia and teaching English in Cambodia.
Leslie said, “Tom fit into 30 years more than many people did in their lives.”
Jackson was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal on what would have been his 33rd birthday, as well as a similar award in Queensland, for his heroic efforts.