A British man who was injured trying to save a fellow backpacker as she was stabbed to death in Australia has died, Queensland Police has said.
Thomas Jackson, 30, of Congleton, Cheshire, was injured when he tried to help Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, in the attack at a hostel last week. Frenchman Smail Ayad, 29, has been charged with murdering Ms Ayliffe-Chung and attempting to murder Mr Jackson. Police said this charge would be changed to murder.
Mr Jackson’s father Les said: “We are bereft. Our darling Tom has left us and the world is a poorer place. “There is dark and evil in this world perpetrated by a few, but so much more love and light emanates from so many more. That thought will sustain us over the coming days.” The backpacker suffered critical head injuries as he went to the aid of Ms Ayliffe-Chung, from Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Police described his actions as “selfless”.
A spokesman for Queensland Police said Mr Jackson died in the Townsville Hospital. Investigations are continuing, but detectives will upgrade the charge to murder when Mr Ayad next appears at Townsville Magistrates’ Court on October 28, he added. Mr Ayad is alleged to have stabbed Ms Ayliffe-Chung and to have caused the injuries which led to Mr Jackson’s death at the Shelley’s Backpackers accommodation in Home Hill on 23 August, at about 23:15 local time. Twelve police officers were also injured.
Police previously said they were investigating whether Mr Ayad had an “obsession” with Ms Ayliffe-Chung. Speaking after the attack, Mr Jackson’s family said they were “immensely proud” of him for his actions. “There are many and varied reasons why we are, and always will be, immensely proud of Tom,” his father said. “His actions in response to this horrific attack only add to that sense of pride.”
A fundraising page has been set up for Mr Jackson, called a “hero” on the Youcaring page. It has raised more than £1,300 of a £5,000 goal to support Mr Jackson’s family.
A tribute from his father on the site said: “Thanks again to everyone for the love and support you have given us over the last few days, we will be forever grateful.” Thomas Jackson’s sister, Liv, wrote on Facebook: “There is nothing in this world that can prepare you for the pain and heartbreak of losing a sibling and a friend, but there is great comfort in knowing that he was mine. “All that I ask is that you don’t remember Tom as a victim. “Indescribably proud of everything you accomplished and the lives you touched. I will love you always and forever TJ, your little sister, Lou.”
Friends and well-wishers posted tributes to Mr Jackson on social media sites. Many changed their profile pictures to images of them with him.
Emily Jayne Waters wrote on Facebook: “I honestly couldn’t be anymore broken right now … you will forever be remembered by us all … RIP Tom Jackson … I’m so proud to have had a hero like you as a friend. I love you buddy.”
Steven Isles posted on Facebook: “Tom Jackson, you die a hero, committing a most selfless act anyone could, trying to preserve the life of the innocent.”