A JUDGE has ruled that a French man will not be tried for killing two British backpackers in an Australian hostel in 2016 because of mental illness.

Smail Ayad is not criminally culpable for the knife attack at Home Hill in Queensland state, Justice Jean Dalton decided in the Mental Health Court in Brisbane.

Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 20, from Wirksworth in Derbyshire and Tom Jackson, 30, were killed.

Jackson, from Congleton, Cheshire, was injured while shielding Ayliffe-Chung and died seven days later in hospital.

The court decided Ayad should not face trial because he was suffering paranoid schizophrenia and thought local farmers and hostel staff were trying to kill him.

Ayad will be held in a mental health facility until he is sent to France.

In August 2016, Ayad, then 29, dragged Ayliffe-Chung from her hostel bed and stabbed her repeatedly in front of dozens of backpackers and then stabbed the hostel manager in the leg.

He then jumped from a balcony, fracturing his spine, before stabbing a dog to death and then inflicting fatal wounds to Jackson.

Ayad had been charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of serious animal cruelty and

12 counts of serious assault.