SYDNEY: A Frenchman who allegedly stabbed to death a young British female backpacker in their Australian hostel while shouting "Allahu akbar" may have developed a romantic infatuation with the victim, police believe.
Mia Ayliffe-Chung was killed in a frenzied knife attack as other travellers desperately tried to save the 21-year-old. Another British backpacker, Tom Jackson, remains in a critical condition after being stabbed up to 20 times in the face and body trying to protect her.
Smail Ayad, 29, injured several police officers and was screaming "Allahu akbar", or "God is Great", before he was subdued and arrested.
Police last night played down a link to extremism or terrorism.
Detectives have reportedly found no terrorist links to him and are now investigating whether he had developed an obsession with Miss Ayliffe-Chung, the Herald Sun reported.
Another Briton, Chris Porter said he and Miss Ayliffe-Chung had been staying in the same room as the alleged knifeman.
Mr Porter, 22, from Rochester in Kent, woke to find her being attacked.
After stabbing Mr Jackson, 30, the knifeman then turned his attention to Mr Porter, who jumped from a second- storey window of Shelley's Backpacker's in Home Hill, south of Townsville, Queensland, to escape.
The knifeman then continued to chase Mr Porter, who is believed to have fractured both heels in his leap.
Mr Porter's brother, Aaron, told the Gold Coast Bulletin the alleged knifeman pursued his younger brother down the road.
Mr Ayad, from Marseille, entered Australia in March on a temporary visa.
Bill Byrne, Queensland's police minister, described the stabbing attack as "tragic and disturbing" but said it was not "about race or religion". The victim's mother, Rosie Ayliffe, said her daughter "would not want to be the reason for any hostilities caused by any misinterpretation of events".
She paid tribute to her daughter, as "an amazing young woman with an adventurous spirit. Not only was she kind and funny, she was clever, sassy with a sense of fun."
Miss Ayliffe-Chung, from Wirksworth, Derbyshire, studied childcare at Buxton and Leek College before embarking on a round-the-world trip which had included Morocco, India and Indonesia before arriving in Australia earlier this year.
She had been working as a waitress and with animals on a farm so she could extend her working holiday visa. Jamison Stead, 23, a former boyfriend who met Miss Ayliffe-Chung in Australia, said she had fallen in love with the country and had hoped to stay.