He is tanned and tight, a champion kickboxer and on Tuesday night Smail Ayad used his powerful body and delusional mind to allegedly stab to death Mia Ayliffe-Chung at a backpacker’s hostel in North Queensland.
In photographs the 29-year-old Frenchman looks confident, smooth and in control. Photographs can be so deceptive. It’s not his toned body we should be wary of, it’s his mind.
Ayad was said to be "obsessed" with Mia, reportedly going as far as to tell the other residents of the backpacker hostel that he and the beautiful, young British backpacker were married.
Mia had only arrived at the hostel eight days before and Ayad had become instantly "infatuated". The Townsville Bulletin reports he had been "fawning" over her, telling other backpackers constantly they were in love.
Photographs of her modelling were said to have sent him over the edge. He also discovered that Mia did not "share his feelings". He reportedly changed "in an instant".
Described as a "good person" by the manager of the North Queensland hostel he nevertheless turned into a man full of rage with chilling 'rightful' vengeance on his mind. He snapped - a familiar story for so many women who are victims of violence. Minutes before the alleged murder he posted a message on his Facebook page:
"I'm a victim, I feel I'm going to die soon, whoever you are who like me please follow me, I love everyone," Ayad wrote.
It's impossible to be sympathetic. It's impossible to understand a man who blames others for such savage actions. The real victim was a young, vivacious woman who was travelling around Australia on the holiday of a lifetime. Someone's beautiful daughter on the other side of the world making new friends, working a bit, laughing, dancing, telling her mum just hours before her murder, "Don't worry about me, I'm fine".
A 21-year-old with so much more life to live.
Until a man decided she was his.
He reportedly screamed the Arabic phrase "Allahu akbar" before allegedly stabbing Mia to death in a frenzied attack in front of 30 witnesses. A British man who tried to save her was also stabbed 15 times in the face and chest and is in critical condition. Two others were injured and a dog was killed.
The rage and hate of that "in control" man lying back posing for a photograph.
Mia was a smiling, adventurous, friendly 21-year-old who was just making her way around Australia. Seeing what she could bring to the big, wide world and what it could bring to her. A qualified childcare teacher who had arrived in Australia in 2015 and loved it so much she had extended her Visa by three months and was reportedly working on a sugar cane farm. Joyfully updating her Facebook page with tales of her new friends and new sunburn, of how she can now tell the difference between piles of dirt and rocks.
Queensland police speak about the attack. Post continues below.
A daughter, a friend, a young woman last Tuesday night, like so many young women around the world, far from home.
"My beloved daughter Mia was an amazing young woman with an adventurous spirit," her mum Rosie Ayliffe said. "Not only was she kind and funny, she was clever, sassy with a sense of fun. Mia was full of the kind of open-minded compassion for life that you don't see often. It felt as though she was reminding us all of the beauty and possibilities we all have and that we should live life to the full."
Those who had just met Mia, and those who knew her well and loved her all remember a "bubbly, happy, peaceful, amazing, compassionate" woman.
They have to remember her now.
A woman who would have been so scared in her last moments. So scared and in so much pain and so very powerless. Left to die on the floor of her hostel room by a man she hardly knew who told the world he loved her too.
"Love" can sometimes be the most evil word imaginable.