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  1. ITV Report

Posthumous bravery medal for Tom Jackson who helped stabbed backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

A British man who died while helping a backpacker during a knife attack in Australia has been praised as a "protector" by his parents as they received a bravery award on his behalf.

Tom Jackson, from Cheshire, was stabbed after intervening when fellow Briton Mia Ayliffe-Chung was randomly attacked at a hostel in Queensland in 2016.

Ms Ayliffe-Chung, 21, died at the scene but Mr Jackson succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

On Wednesday, Mr Jackson's parents accepted a posthumous award for gallantry on his behalf at Buckingham Palace.

The day would have marked Mr Jackon's 33rd birthday.

Daniel Richards, a fellow backpacker who also tried helping Ms Ayliffe-Chung, was another recipient of the gallantry medal at the palace.

Speaking to ITV News, Mr Jackson's family said that "no-one was prouder" than they were during the ceremony.

Tom Jackson died aged 30. Credit: Family handout
Daniel Richards (c) also received a gallantry medal. Credit: PA

Mr Jackson's mother, Sandra, described the investiture as a "bittersweet" and "emotional" occasion.

"It's a bittersweet occasion and we wish that Tom was getting the award, but I'm very proud to be receiving it on his behalf," she said.

"He was very much a protector. he didn't like people bullying other people."

Asked what Prince William said to her, Ms Jackson said: "He said that he'd read up about what had happened and he couldn't believe what he did.

"He said how proud I should be - it was really nice."

During the attack, in August 2016, Ms Ayliffe-Chung was dragged from her bed at the Home Hill hostel by Smail Ayad before being stabbed multiple times.

The Frenchman later turned the knife on Mr Jackson after he went to Ms Ayliffe-Chung's aid.

In April, murder proceedings against Ayad were discontinued after he was found to have been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the attack.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung was working on a farm in Queensland to extend her working holiday visa. Credit: Family handout
The Home Hill hostel in Queensland. Credit: APTN

Mr Jackson's father, Les, said that a letter notifying the family of the bravery award had brought him to tears.

"Now that we're getting the award I'm quite happy about it," Mr Jackson told ITV News ahead of the ceremony.

"I'm obviously not happy about the circumstances which led to it but I think it's right that Tom is recognise at this level for what he did on that terrible day.

"It means a lot to us for that reason."

"The rest of the country, the rest of the world will know about it now and that's right as far as I'm concerned".

The Jackson family spoke to ITV News ahead of the ceremony. Credit: PA
Tom Jackson (r) with his brother Dan and sister Liv. Credit: Family handout

Mr Jackson said that the family had not been surprised to hear how his son had tried to help.

He told ITV News that friends spoke of that quality at Mr Jackson's funeral.

Describing how he "thoroughly deserved" the award, Mr Jackson said: "I don't know whether celebrate is the right word."

After the ceremony, he said: "I was thinking as all the people were coming across for the wonderful things that they've done in their lives, no one was prouder than I was when Sandra went up to get Tom's medal."

Mr Jackson's younger siblings, Dan and Liv, were also in attendance at the Buckingham Palace.

Smail Ayad was deemed a paranoid schizophrenic after the attack. Credit: Seven