Murdered Brit backpacker’s mum heard ‘fear in her voice’ in final phone chat

The mum of a British backpacker who was murdered by her roommate in an Australian hostel has relived their final conversation.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, was "terrified" about having to complete mandatory agricultural labour in order to stay in the country when she was put in a room with the man who would go on to kill her.

Fellow Brit Tom Jackson, 30, was also murdered when he tried to protect Mia from killer Smail Ayad, 29, in August 2016, the Mirror reports.

Mia was stabbed to death in front of horrified backpackers at Home Hill hostel in northern Queensland.

She had been housed with her killer, a French national later diagnosed with schizophrenia, in the days before her death.

This week it was finally announced that the Australian law requiring foreigners under 30 to do agricultural work as a visa requirement would be scrapped.

Recalling the last time she spoke to her daughter, mum Rosie Ayliffe, from Derbyshire, told The Times: “She was terrified. I could hear it in her voice… but being Mia, she didn’t say to me, ‘Look, they put me in a room with a potential psycho."

Under current laws, foreigners under the age of 30 who wanted to remain in Australia had to spend 88 days doing agricultural work in rural areas.

Ms Ayliffe told the i: "I could hear fear in her voice, she desperately didn’t want to do farm work.

“She was frightened and described it as a prison.”

This week it was announced that the rule requiring foreigners to carry out agricultural labour would be scrapped following trade talks between Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison.

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Under rules expected to come into force next year, young travellers are now permitted to stay for three years.

Ms Ayliffe described the decision as "good news" for young people, adding: “It’s happened five years too late for Mia and Tom, but it wouldn’t have happened without their deaths I don’t think, we wouldn’t have got through to the British government to consider putting that on the table."

Mr Jackson, from Cheshire, died five days after the attack after suffering fatal knife injuries.

His father Les told the BBC at the time: "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."

Following her daughter's killing, Ms Ayliffe spoke to travellers about the terrifying experiences they had endured as a result of the policy.

In March her book, Far From Home, which highlighted the dangers of the agricultural labour policy was published – and she believes it was crucial in bringing about change.

She told The Times: “When you start putting it all together, it’s systemic and it’s across the board and it’s because nobody was joining up the dots and nobody was saying, ‘Hang on a minute, this visa requirement is causing problems because of the power imbalance between the employer and backpackers."

Australia's agriculture industry relies on an estimated 10,000 British backpackers each year to pick fruit and vegetables.

But it is expected that an agricultural visa allowing British farmers to work in Australia will mean they are not required.

Two days after killing Mia, Ayad was charged with her murder but following his schizophrenia diagnosis criminal charges were dropped.

He was detained at The Park Centre for Mental Health in Brisbane.

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