Backpacker's Family Hail Bravery Of Fellow Briton Who Died After Bid To Save Her

Backpacker's Family Hail Bravery Of Fellow Briton Who Died After Bid To Save Her

The family of a British backpacker killed at an Australian hostel have hailed the bravery of a fellow Briton who died after trying to save her.

Tom Jackson died in Townsville Hospital on Tuesday, a week after he was critically injured as he tried to shield Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, during a knife attack at Shelley's Backpackers in Home Hill, Queensland.

The 30-year-old's family said they were "indescribably proud" of his actions and Mr Jackson, from Congleton, Cheshire, has been nominated for a posthumous bravery award.

Nicola Hawkridge-Chung, Miss Ayliffe-Chung's half-sister, described Mr Jackson's death as "horrible".

She told reporters: "I don't think there's any words to describe just what he's done and what he tried to do for Mia.

"Not many people would have that level of bravery to put themselves in that situation and put themselves in harm's way.

"Especially considering what was happening at the time, and the fact that he was able to intervene and the fact that he was so gravely wounded because of it and ultimately died - that's just horrible and we would just like to provide whatever support we can to his family at this time."

Miss Ayliffe-Chung's mother Rosie Ayliffe said the two victims were "beautiful, strong, exceptional people".

Recalling the moment police arrived to tell her the news, she told reporters: "It was past 10 at night and two policemen came in and looked incredibly serious.

"I thought I'd parked my car somewhere I shouldn't have, I thought I'd done something that I shouldn't have done.

"They said there was no easy way of telling me and that Mia had been fatally wounded. That was when I went into shock that I didn't come out of for a long time."

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was so moved by Mr Jackson's efforts that she has nominated him for a bravery award.

She told the Queensland Parliament in Brisbane: "Mr Jackson's reported actions of putting his own life before the life of hers represents an extraordinary act of courage and is deserving of recognition for this brave act.

"I have today written to the Australian Bravery Declarations Council to nominate Mr Jackson for a bravery award.

"I have also spoken with Tom's father Les. Les has asked me to pass on his thanks for the support his family is receiving from the community as well as the thanks from the local police, paramedics and all the staff at the ICU at Townsville Hospital

"These were tragic events and on behalf of Queenslanders I offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those involved."

Les Jackson said his son's death had left the family "bereft" and the world "a poorer place".

A YouCaring fundraising page set up by a friend, Shoshana Palatnik, to help the family has received donations of more than £10,500, which will go to Mr Jackson's parents.

Queensland police said detectives will upgrade a charge of attempted murder against a 29-year-old man when he next appears at Townsville Magistrates' Court on October 28.

Smail Ayad is alleged to have killed Miss Ayliffe-Chung and to have caused the injuries that led to Mr Jackson's death, as well as harming 12 police officers.

Police previously said they were investigating whether Ayad had an "obsession" with Miss Ayliffe-Chung, from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, and described Mr Jackson's actions as "selfless".


What's Hot