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British man dies after stabbing attack at Australian hostel

Associated Press Associated Press 30/08/2016

SYDNEY — A British man who police say was seriously wounded when he tried to save a British woman being stabbed to death at an Australian hostel died of his injuries on Tuesday, authorities said.

Thomas Jackson, 30, died in a hospital in the northeast Australian city of Townsville, Queensland state police said.

Jackson was wounded last week when he tried to stop an attack at a hostel in the town of Home Hill, south of Townsville. Police have accused 29-year-old Smail Ayad, of France, of stabbing 21-year-old Mia Ayliffe-Chung to death in front of dozens of backpackers.

Police said that Ayad shouted "Allahu akbar" — the Arabic phrase meaning "God is great" — during the attack, but that there is no indication the assault was motivated by extremism. They are investigating whether Ayad may have had an obsession with Ayliffe-Chung.

Jackson received serious injuries to his head when he intervened during the attack in a bid to save Ayliffe-Chung. Another man was also wounded, and a dog was killed.

Ayad was charged last week with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, one count of serious animal cruelty and 12 counts of serious assault.

Police said they would be upgrading one of the attempted murder charges against Ayad as a result of Jackson's death. He has not yet entered a plea and is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 28.

Jackson's father flew to Australia last week to be by his son's side. On Sunday, he released a statement praising his son's actions.

"There are many and varied reasons why we are, and always will be, immensely proud of Tom," Les Jackson said in a statement. "His actions in response to this horrific attack only add to that sense of pride."

Witnesses told police Ayad had been acting out of character in the hours leading up to the attack. Police believe he had taken cannabis during the evening, but there was no evidence he had been drinking or using harder drugs.

Ayad had traveled to Australia twice in the past year. He returned in March on a temporary visa and had been in Home Hill for about a month, police said.

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