Tributes to 'bubbly' Derbyshire lass Mia

Tributes have been paid to a Derbyshire backpacker stabbed to death at a hostel in Australia.

Wednesday, 24th August 2016, 12:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:37 pm
Mia Ayliffe-Chung, who has died after a 'bloody attack' at a hostel in Queens;and Australia. (Images supplied by Tommy Martin / PA).

The 21-year-old woman has been named locally as Mia Ayliffe-Chung, from Wirksworth.

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She is a former pupil of Anthony Gell School in Wirksworth, and Ecclesbourne School in Duffield and later attended Chesterfield College and the University of Derby Buxton campus.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung (photos supplied by Tommy Martin / PA).

She arrived in Australia around a year ago and been working as a waitress at the Surfers Paradise hostel for the past six months. She was at the Shelley's Backpackers hostel in Home Hill, Queensland when the incident took place at 11.15pm local time last night.

A 30-year-old British man is also in a critical condition after the attack, with police investigating possible terrorist links to the young woman's death.

Staff at Ecclesbourne School said Mia was well known by classmates and easily made friends with a 'bubbly and energetic' nature.

Head of Pastoral Care Paul Lovett said: "Everyone at the school is shocked and saddened at the news that Mia has lost her life in the most tragic of circumstances. We knew Mia as a student with so much joy and energy who was well-liked by her friends and teachers.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung photos supplied by Tommy Martin / PA.

"She joined our school in Year 9 and flourished here both in making strong friendships and in achieving high level GCSEs. Mia was a bubbly student who was energetic, caring and who immersed herself in life, enriching the school environment she contributed to. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this most difficult of times."

Rachel McVeigh, Curriculum Leader for Education and Childcare, at Buxton & Leek College, said: “Mia studied Childcare and Education at Buxton & Leek College from 2012 – 2014. She was a bright and hardworking young lady, whose bubbly personality and sense of humour endeared her to everyone she encountered. Mia had a zest for life and was free spirited, with a keen desire to travel. We are devastated and extremely sorry to hear such tragic news. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We are working with local authorities and providing support to the families of a British national who was killed and another critically injured in an incident in Australia. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time”.

Witnesses reported a 29-year-old man from France called out in Arabic 'God is Great' before the attack at the hostel, Shelley's Backpackers in Home Hill.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung (photos supplied by Tommy Martin / PA).

Queensland Police Service said up to 30 people witnessed the "senseless act of violence" at around 11.15am GMT yesterday morning (August 23), in which a 46-year-old local man also suffered non life-threatening injuries.

The force said the investigation is still in its early stages and more details are expected to become clear as it unfolds.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said: "Initial inquiries indicate that comments that may be construed of being of an extremist nature were made by the alleged offender.”

“While this information will be factored into the investigation we are not ruling out any motivations at this early stage whether they be political or criminal.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung photos supplied by Tommy Martin / PA.

“Investigators will also consider whether mental health or drug misuse are factors in this incident.”

Police confirmed they took a man into custody upon arriving at the scene at Ninth Street, Home Hill.

Also known as Mimi, Mia had been in Australia for around a year and was posting regular updates from her travels, and was described by a friend at the hostel as 'bubbly'.

In the days leading up to the attack she posted on Facebook: "Day one, done! Only 87 left to do. Today we were in sugar canes. Feeling like a little Jamaican again. Saw about 5 small spiders, 4 poisonous toads and 3 geckos. Not too shabby of a day."