Chilean filmmaker Constanza (Kuki) Escudero, 26, was allegedly stabbed in a Cairns backpackers hostel.
Chilean filmmaker Constanza (Kuki) Escudero, 26, was allegedly stabbed in a Cairns backpackers hostel.

How backpacker’s dream holiday turned to terror

SEVERAL weeks ago Chilean filmmaker Constanza "Kuki" Escudero described herself as a "happy bird" as she planned a dream Australian holiday with her best friend.

Yesterday her trip was in tatters as she recovered in Cairns Hospital from a horrific 8cm knife wound in her neck.

 

Constanza (Kuki) Escudero is an intrepid traveller.
Constanza (Kuki) Escudero is an intrepid traveller.

The 26-year-old from Santiago was allegedly attacked at random by a part-time cleaner who used a knife from the communal kitchen. at Geckos Backpackers Hostel on Bunda St at Parramatta Park.

Ms Escudero and her friend, veterinarian Marisol Fernandez, 26, had been in Cairns just three days when the alleged assault took place about 11am on Monday. They arrived in Australia 10 days ago.

Emergency services attend the scene of the alleged attack. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Emergency services attend the scene of the alleged attack. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Ms Escudero in happier times.
Ms Escudero in happier times.

The pair, who are both well travelled animal lovers, had planned to find work while here. Instead their plans remain uncertain with Ms Escudero's father due to arrive from Chile tomorrow as she recovers from her injury.

She had surgery on the wound yesterday with medical staff and police shocked at how close she came to death.

The wound was just millimetres from a major artery which could have potentially been fatal if hit.

Chilean filmmaker Constanza (Kuki) Escudero, 26, was allegedly stabbed in a Cairns backpackers hostel.
Chilean filmmaker Constanza (Kuki) Escudero, 26, was allegedly stabbed in a Cairns backpackers hostel.
Detectives returned to Geckos Backpackers Resort on Bunda St in Parramatta Park the day after a 26-year-old Chilean woman was allegedly stabbed by a staff member. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Detectives returned to Geckos Backpackers Resort on Bunda St in Parramatta Park the day after a 26-year-old Chilean woman was allegedly stabbed by a staff member. PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

The alleged offender, Northern Territory man Raynard Gregory Moodoonuthi, 36, has been charged with attempted murder and has been remanded in custody after a short appearance in the Cairns Magistrates Court yesterday.

Police have alleged the pair did not know each other.

It was also alleged he threatened Ms Fernandez with the knife, although she did not suffer any injuries. She is by her friend's side at the hospital.

Chilean vet Marisol Fernandez, 26, was travelling with her friend Constanza Escudero, 26, who was allegedly stabbed in a Cairns backpackers hostel.
Chilean vet Marisol Fernandez, 26, was travelling with her friend Constanza Escudero, 26, who was allegedly stabbed in a Cairns backpackers hostel.
Paramedics treated the woman's injuries on Bunda St near Cairns Central Shopping Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Paramedics treated the woman's injuries on Bunda St near Cairns Central Shopping Centre. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

Ms Escudero was initially treated by two nurses who were staying at the hostel while on holiday from New South Wales. They worked to stop the bleeding before paramedics arrived.

Det Sen-Sgt Ed Kinbacher said it was only by "pure fluke" she survived the alleged attack.

A 26-year-old woman has suffered serious injuries to her neck and her chest after she was allegedly stabbed by a man at Geckos Backpackers on Bunda Street, Parramatta Park. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
A 26-year-old woman has suffered serious injuries to her neck and her chest after she was allegedly stabbed by a man at Geckos Backpackers on Bunda Street, Parramatta Park. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Police rushed to the scene after receiving word of the alleged attack. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Police rushed to the scene after receiving word of the alleged attack. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"Clearly this is psychologically and physically scarring incident that she'll carry with her for some time," he said.

"(It is) awful a young woman, just arrived in Cairns, here to enjoy what this community offers and within a short period of time through no fault of her own she is finding herself with a life threatening injury. It was pure luck that she is still with us."

He said the Chilean embassy, along with their families had been advised.

Police are calling for anyone with dashcam footage of the alleged incident to come forward.