By Nancy Notzon and Matt Eaton
The father of a British man critically wounded in a frenzied backpacker hostel stabbing attack in north Queensland has praised his son’s bravery and sent his sympathies to the family of Mia Ayliffe-Chung, who was killed in the attack.
Les Jackson flew into Townsville on Thursday night to be at the bedside of his son Tom Jackson, who remains in a critical condition on life support in Townsville Hospital.
Tom suffered multiple stab wounds to his head and leg when he tried to save Ms Ayliffe-Chung at the hostel in Home Hill, south of Townsville, last Tuesday night.
French national Smail Ayad, 29, has been charged with murder and attempted murder over the attack.
“There are many and varied reasons why we are, and always will be, immensely proud of Tom,” Mr Jackson said in a statement.
“His actions in response to this horrific attack only add to that sense of pride.
“Our hearts go out to Mia and her family and friends at this dreadful time.”
Mr Jackson also thanked friends, family and people in Townsville for their support.
“As Tom’s dad here in Townsville that comfort and many offers of support and friendship has been given by the Townsville community,” he said.
“Please don’t think I am unappreciative of these kind offers if they appear to be silently ignored. They have not been, but I think you will understand that our sole focus at the moment is entirely on Tom’s condition.
“We are in awe of the medical and support staff at The Townsville Hospital who are providing the greatest care Tom could hope to receive and keeping me informed of his ongoing treatment every step of the way.”
The ABC understands Mr Jackson and Ayad were close friends and locals who knew them were shocked by the incident.
Ayad faced court last Friday facing a string of charges, which also include animal cruelty and a dozen counts of assaulting police while in custody.
Ayad remained in Townville watch house for the hearing after police cited public safety concerns.
His case is due to return to court in Townsville on October 28.
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This post originally appeared on ABC News.