2016 Home Hill stabbings

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2016 Home Hill stabbings
Part of crime in Australia
Location30 Ninth Ave, Home Hill, Queensland, Australia
Coordinates19°39′43″S 147°24′52″E / 19.661974°S 147.414460°E / -19.661974; 147.414460Coordinates: 19°39′43″S 147°24′52″E / 19.661974°S 147.414460°E / -19.661974; 147.414460
Date23 August 2016 (2016-08-23)
11:15 pm AEST (UTC+10:00)
Attack type
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorSmail Ayad

On 23 August 2016,[1] Smail Ayad (29) a French national committed a stabbing attack at a backpackers' hostel in Home Hill, Queensland, Australia. The attack caused the death of two people and a dog and left one person injured.[2]

It is alleged Ayad used the Arabic phrase "Allahu akbar" both during the attack and his arrest, and while police ruled out any links to extremism, they are still investigating whether he had a romantic interest in victim Mia Ayliffe-Chung.[3] Police have indicated Ayad had used cannabis on the night of the attack.[4] Ayad also sang the French national anthem during the attack.[5][6]

On 25 August 2016, 29-year-old French national Smail Ayad was charged with the crimes of murder, attempted murder, serious animal cruelty and serious assault.[7] On 27 October 2016, Smail Ayad's trial got adjourned to Mental Health Court, as a result of determining a preliminary diagnosis of schizophrenia.[8] This diagnosis was confirmed by the Mental Health Court on 5 April 2018 resulting in the criminal charges being dropped and an order was made to detain him in The Park Centre for Mental Health in Brisbane for treatment.[9]


Ayad attacked Mia Ayliffe-Chung, his roommate as she lay in her bunk.[10] Ayad then stabbed hostel caretaker Grant Schultz in the leg and chased the hostel's pet dog Atari around the yard stabbing the dog until it died.[11] A second British backpacker, Tom Jackson was also attacked when he tried to help the woman. He died several days later. The attacker, Smail Ayad, continued to scream "Allahu akbar" as police officers worked to subdue him, injuring several officers.[12][13]


British national, Mia Ayliffe-Chung (20), died at the scene.[14]

British national, Tom Jackson (30), suffered critical injuries in the attack and died five days later in hospital.[15]

Hostel caretaker, Grant Schultz (46), suffered stab wounds to the leg.[16]

The dog Atari died at the scene.[11]


Smail Ayad, 29, was a French national[12] who is Muslim.[17] Ayad went out drinking once a week like many backpackers, where on Saturday nights he would travel to Ayr for rum or beer with other Frenchmen.[10]

Since his arrest, he has been transferred from Stuart prison to a secure mental health facility in Brisbane.[18]

Ayad was initially charged with Ayliffe-Chung's murder, the attempted murders of Jackson and Scultz, and a charge of animal cruelty. An additional 12 counts of assaulting police were laid a few days later arising from his attack on the police officers who subdued him.[19] One of the attempted murder charge was upgraded to murder after Jackson died.[20]

On 5 April 2018, the Queensland Mental Health Court determined that Ayad was of unsound mind at the time of the killings. Four psychiatrists found he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and believed he was the target of an international conspiracy to kill him. The criminal charges were dropped against Ayad as it could not be proven he had an intent to kill. The court directed Ayad to be detained in The Park Centre for Mental Health for treatment.[9]


The Islamic Council of Queensland criticised media reports for quickly linking use of this phrase with Islamic terrorism.[1] On 25 August 2016, the authorities were confident the stabbings were not an act of terrorism.[21] Several backpackers who have stayed at Home Hill before the double murder, spoke out against the violence that has broken out previously and the drinking culture among the backpackers.[22] The town was called "Hell Hill" by one of the backpackers even before the murder incident and the backpacker warned others to "avoid it at all costs".[22] Mia Ayliffe-Chung’s mother, Rosie Ayliffe came to Australia for her daughter's funeral and began to discover the dark side of extreme working conditions on Australian farms.[22][23] She has written an open letter advising the Australian Government to change the current regulations for visa holders of 88 days of work on a farm to extend visa, where according to her, this matter is highly downplayed by the media in Australia and UK.[23]


  1. ^ a b "Queensland backpackers' killing: Police probe 'Allahu akbar' link in stabbing death of Mia Ayliffe-Chung". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 August 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  2. ^ Robertson, Joshua (24 August 2016). "French man allegedly shouted 'Allahu Akbar' in fatal stabbing of British woman at Australian hostel". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Accused backpacker killer moved to secure mental health facility". Abc.net.au. 2016-09-11. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  4. ^ "Smail Ayad remanded in custody over youth hostel stabbing". Abc.net.au. 2016-08-25. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  5. ^ "Mother of 'amazing' backpacker killed in Australian hostel pays tribute". The Guardian. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  6. ^ MARK SCHLIEBS (27 August 2016). "Smail Ayad: Helmet, mask for man accused of Townsville hostel attack". The Australian. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Queensland backpacker killing: Man charged over Home Hill stabbing of Mia Ayliffe-Chung - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  8. ^ Healy, Samantha (29 October 2016). "Ayad may never face trial". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  9. ^ a b Branco, Jorge (5 April 2018). "Home Hill attacker won't stand trial for killing Mia Ayliffe-Chung and Tom Jackson". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Home Hill hostel killer Smail Ayad's phone call about Mia Ayliffe-Chung". News.com.au. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  11. ^ a b Kyriacou, Kate; Chamberlin, Thomas (27 August 2016). "Dad's dash to hostel hero's side". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  12. ^ a b Farmer, Ben (25 August 2016). "Attacker may have been 'infatuated' with British backpacker stabbed to death in Australia". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  13. ^ Davies, Caroline (24 August 2016). "Mother of 'amazing' backpacker killed in Australian hostel pays tribute". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Queensland backpacker killing: Mia Ayliffe-Chung's mum wants daughter's ashes scattered around the world". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  15. ^ "Briton Tom Jackson dies in Queensland hospital after backpacker stabbing". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  16. ^ "Man charged with the murder of backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung". News Limited. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  17. ^ Nick Craven (15 October 2016). "'Goodbye, I love you, be careful': The haunting last words of Mia's mother as she left for gap year that saw her killed 'by a backpacker'". The Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 16 October 2016. Although he is Muslim and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ during his bloody killing spree
  18. ^ "Accused Home Hill killer moved to Brisbane". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  19. ^ Stephens, Kim (27 August 2016). "Mia Ayliffe-Chung stabbing: Home Hill comes to grips with tragedy in their midst". NewsComAu. News Limited. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  20. ^ Healy, Samantha (29 October 2016). "Ayad may never face trial". Townsville Bulletin. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  21. ^ Kyriacou, Kate; Chamberlin, Thomas; McMahon, Chris (25 August 2016). "Man, 29, charged over Home Hill hostel attack". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  22. ^ a b c "Home Hill hostel stabbing: Underbelly of backpacker scene". News.com.au. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  23. ^ a b "Rosie Ayliffe discovers 'horror stories of extreme proportions' about working holidays in Australia". Independent.co.uk. 2016-09-10. Retrieved 2016-09-13.