Police are investigating whether the murder of a British backpacker in North Queensland was motivated by Islamic extremism.
21-year-old Mia Ayliffe-Chung (pictured above, via Facebook) was brutally killed in a stabbing attack at the Shelley’s Backpackers hostel in the town of Home Hill, south of Townsville, just after 11pm on Tuesday.
The attacker reportedly said “Allahu akbar” (God is great) as he allegedly murdered the woman and critically injured another British national, 30-years-old.
Around 30 people are reported to have witnessed the shocking incident.
Police are yet to confirm if the suspect was indeed inspired by religious extremism or rather is solely affected by mental illness and or possible drug use, according to Fairfax.
Police arrested a 29-year-old French national at the hostel over the incident and took him in to custody.
“This is not about race or religion. It is individual criminal behaviour,” Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told reporters on Wednesday, saying that there was no ongoing threat to the local community.
The Australian Federal Police said they are working closely with Queensland police in the investigation.
“Through our international relationships, with international law enforcement, we are speaking with all the appropriate international law enforcement,” AFP Commander Sharon Cowden said.
The British High Commission in Australia has made support available to the families of Ayliffe-Chung and the other UK citizen who was injured in the horrific attack.
“We are working with local authorities and providing support to the families after one British national was killed and another critically injured in an incident in Australia,” a spokeswoman for the High Commission said.
“Our thoughts are with the families at this difficult time.
“High Commission staff have deployed to Townsville and we remain in close contact with local authorities.”
Mia Ayliffe-Chung came to Australia about a year ago for a working holiday. She had been living on the Gold Coast in southern Queensland, working in nightclubs, before travelling north to experience life working on farms.