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Home Hill hostel owner reveals alleged stabbing lasted hours, as victim remains critical

AAP logoAAP 28/08/2016

The owner of the Home Hill hostel says the alleged frenzied stabbing rampage by French national Smail Ayad lasted for hours.

Mr Ayad, 29, has been charged with murder over the stabbing death of 21-year-old Mia Ayliffe-Chung, two counts of attempted murder, serious animal cruelty and 12 counts of assault after the attack at the hostel in Home Hill, 100km south of Townsville, on Monday night.

Shelley’s Backpackers owner John Norris said guests at the hostel barricaded themselves inside rooms during the attack.

“It started just after 11pm and probably went through until 2am, 2.30am,” Mr Norris said.

“They were told to get into the room and lock themselves in there.”

British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung was stabbed to death. © AAP Image British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung was stabbed to death. Hostel staff said Mr Ayad was due to check out that morning and return to his hometown in France.

“Some people were lucky, and some were unlucky, and that was Mia and Tom,” Mr Norris said.

British man Tom Jackson, 30, remains in a critical condition in intensive care at Townsville Hospital, after he bravely attempted to save his friend and fellow Briton Ms Ayliffe-Chung.

The hostel’s manager, Grant Scholz, 46, was also allegedly stabbed while trying to protect the pair, and required more than 100 stitches.

British backpacker Tom Jackson. © AAP Image/Facebook British backpacker Tom Jackson. Mr Jackson’s father, Les, released a statement today as he continues to maintain a bedside vigil since his arrival from the UK.

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

He acknowledged the “kind offers” from the Townsville and wider Queensland communities.

"Please don't think I am unappreciative of these kind offers if they appear to be silently ignored. They have not been but I think you will understand that our sole focus at the moment is entirely on Tom's condition," he said.

"We are in awe of the medical and support staff at the Townsville Hospital who are providing the greatest care Tom could hope to receive and keeping me informed of his ongoing treatment every step of the way.

"Finally, and most importantly, our hearts go out to Mia and her family and friends at this dreadful time."

Tributes have continued to build at the hostel for the slain British woman, with flowers and cards expressing condolences building up outside the entrance.

Mr Ayad has been remanded in custody after a brief mention at Townsville Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

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