British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung told her mother she was having ‘the time of her life’ during a phone call home just hours before she was brutally murdered at youth hostel in Australia.
Only child Mia, 21, said to the mum she adored: ‘Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.’
Traveller Mia’s tragic last words to mum Rose Ayliffe were revealed today by a close family friend.
Trudy Curtis has been comforting heartbroken Rose since police broke the news that her daughter had been knifed to death in a frenzied attack in front of 30 horrified witnesses.
Tearful Trudy said: ‘She is absolutely devastated and too distraught to comprehend it. She has lost her beautiful daughter, her only child, in a most violent murder. It doesn’t get any worse than that.’
Trudy, who knew Mia well and used to look after her while her teacher mum was working, paid tribute to her, saying: ‘She’s so amazing and she was happy travelling and working.’
Rose from Matlock, Derbyshire, in the UK, had waved Mia off on her lifelong adventure a year ago.
Trudy, speaking exclusively to MailOnline, explained: ‘She went travelling about this time last year. Her mum hadn’t seen her in all that time but they were in constant contact. They emailed and called each other so much.
‘Mia always said she was really loving the experience. She spoke to her mum just hours before she died and said she was having the time of her life.
‘Mia’s very sassy and every mum worries when their daughter goes off travelling. But Mia would insist: ‘Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.’
Mia, was working as a waitress to her her travels, was stabbed by a Frenchman shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’.
A fellow Brit, 31, has been left fighting for his life after he was stabbed 15 times in the face trying to save her in Tuesday night’s horror in Home Hill, Queensland.
Trudy said: ‘The worst thing on top of the loss is not knowing what happened and why. Rosie is besides herself with grief and incomprehension. We don’t know if it was a terrorist attack or carried out by a man with mental issues. We don’t want to say it is one thing when it may not be. We really don’t know. The fact that it happened in another country and on the other side of the world makes it worse.’
Trudy told how her friend got a late night visit from police that every parent dreads. At the time she was at home with her partner Stuart.
She said: ‘Police turned up at 11pm and broke the news. Poor Rosie she’s been up all night, there’s an awful lot to digest and she is devastated, absolutely devastated.
‘I’ve been friends of the family for a long time and I’ve been here since 9am comforting her. I just want to be here for her.
‘She and Mia had such a close bond. I don’t know how Rosie will cope with her loss.’
Mia’s dad. who is separated from her mum, and lives in London is aware of the murder.
Rose, who was also being helped by Derbyshire Police family liaison officers, is now planning to go to Australia.
The alleged knifeman is a 29-year-old French national who has been in the country on a temporary visa since March.
Witnesses said he was seen loudly singing the French national anthem before carrying out the attack.
He was also caught on police body camera shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’, meaning God is great, as he was taken into custody.
Ms Ayliffe-Chung’s sister Natasha Chung, 35, was clearly upset as she spoke at her semi-detached home in Selhurst, south east London.
Natasha said: ‘I still don’t know the full details of what happened.
‘I wouldn’t know what to say. I’m still in shock,’ she said.
She said she learned of her sister’s tragic death through a phone call from her other sister, Nicola, on Tuesday night.
‘My sister is with my dad at the moment,’ Natasha added.
She had been dating Australian Jamison Stead since early May, although the pair broke up a few weeks ago.
Mr Stead told MailOnline on Wednesday he was still trying to come to terms with what had happened.
She had been on an incredible trip around the world to exotic locations like Morocco, Turkey, India, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia before landing work on the Gold Coast in a bar, where she was adored by friends and co-workers.
Ms Ayliffe-Chung, who is originally from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, went to Ecclesbourne School in Duffield, before moving to Anthony Gell School in Wirksworth, Matlock, in Year 9.
She then studied childcare at college in Buxton, which is part of the University of Derby, and psychology at Chesterfield College, according to her Facebook profile.
In the days before her death she had been detailing online her experiences at the farm, an inventory of Australia’s creepy-crawlies that she had come across.
‘Day one, done! Only 87 left to do. Today we were in sugar canes. Feeling like a little Jamaican again. Saw about five small spiders, four poisonous toads and three geckos. Not too shabby of a day,’ one post read.
Leading up to her time in northern Queensland where she was working on a sugar cane farm, her social media pages were filled with photographs of her enjoying life on the Gold Coast – waterfront high rise buildings, beaches and bars.
In the weeks before she left the UK for her trip of a lifetime last year, she posted about being 30 per cent excited – but 70 percent scared – about her adventure.
A year ago to the day of that post, she wrote that it had ‘definitely’ lived up to expectations – but hadn’t been as scary as she thought.
But clearly missing home, she said although she was ‘living her dream, the hardest thing is ‘missing the important home things. Graduations, people in hospital, funerals and birthdays,’ she wrote in a July Facebook post.
Photos from her trip around the world show her visiting stunning waterfalls in Vietnam and exploring markets in Thailand.
Others show her lounging in Indonesian pools, swimming in azure seas and holding monkeys.
Pictures reveal her in a desert area with camels, visiting Moroccan marketplaces and stopping off in cities like Istanbul and Dubai.
Paying tribute to Mia, Paul Lovatt, Head of Pastoral Care at Anthony Gell School where she joined as a Year 9 student, 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 was a bubbly student who was energetic, caring and who immersed herself in life, enriching the school environment she contributed to.’
Two friends and co-workers of Ms Ayliffe-Chung also said she was ‘fun, energetic and bubbly’.
‘She was great to work with, loved by everyone and will be dearly missed by the Surfers Paradise hospitality community,’ Scott Ackland told MailOnline.
‘It is under such terrible circumstances that this has happened to such an amazing person. Our condolences go out to all of her family and friends. We are also thankful Chris Porter, our other co worker, was able to escape with minimal injuries and our thoughts are with the other man fighting for his life,’ he told MailOnline.
A friend of British hero Mr Jackson, who is in a critical condition in hospital, said he was wounded when he went to help Ms Ayliffe-Chung as she was being attacked.
Speaking from the family home in Congleton, Cheshire, Tom Jackson’s sister, Olivia, 23, said: ‘We can’t really comment too much at the minute.
‘Tom hasn’t been in a position to talk to us because he’s still in a critical condition in hospital. We can’t divulge too much else right now.’
Neighbour Rex Garratt said: ‘We didn’t even know he was in Australia, it’s a total shock. ‘I can’t believe it, Tom was friends with all the kids in the neighbourhood, it’s so sad.’
‘Everyone’s close in this community, people know the family’s name.’
Paul Garratt, Rex’s son, said: ‘He’s a friend of mine, he’s a really nice person from a really nice family.
‘He’s very friendly and he loves travelling.’
The third person injured, 46-year-old local man Mr Scholz, was taken to hospital with a stab wound to the leg but has since been released.
Mr Scholz manages the hostel and is understood to live on site.
‘Grunta tried to get him off the girl when he was stabbed in the leg,’ a friend told MailOnline.
His sister, Roslyn, posted on Facebook: ‘Hope you are OK little Brother, you are very brave.’
Mr Scholz’s friend also confirmed a dog, believed to be owned be hostel owner Shelley Norris, was stabbed during the rampage.
Queensland state Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Golleschewski told a news conference the attacker twice screamed ‘Allahu Akhbar’ during the frenzy.
‘Initial inquiries indicate that comments which may be construed of being as of an extremist nature were made by the alleged offender,’ Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said.
‘It is alleged that the suspect used the phrase ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the attack and when arrested by police.
‘Whilst this information will be factored into the information we are not ruling out any motivations at this early stage, whether they be political or criminal.
‘We’ve had three people stabbed and one dead, deceased [and] one critically injured. It’s a shocking attack by any standards.’
A neighbour, named Ray, who lives across the street, told of hearing blood-curdling screams’ around the time of the attack.
‘It’s a very quiet town… we heard the screams… I was terrified, it wasn’t very pleasant at all. I’ll never forget it,’ he said.
‘A sleepy little town like this, you don’t expect things like that to happen.’
The alleged knifeman was taken to Townsville Hospital and is being questioned by police. He is yet to be charged.
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