Mother of three killed by drunk driver talks about the tough question strangers always ask
The mother of three killed by a drunk driver has opened up about the tough question strangers always ask her.
Leila and Danny Abdallah lost three of their children – Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13 – in February 2020 after the driver, also on drugs, ran them over and killed them.
Their 11-year-old niece Véronique Sakr was also killed in the accident and their only remaining daughter at the time, Liana, suffered head injuries.
The Abdallahs also had two boys, Alex and Michael, and two months ago, on March 18, another daughter, Selina, was born.
Despite the loss of three children, when Mrs. Abdallah, 37, is asked how many children she has, she always answers seven.
Leila and Danny Abdallah (pictured), who lost three of their children when they were killed by a drunk driver in February 2020, welcomed a new baby girl, Selina (pictured with her parents), in March
“I was always prepared for this question,” said Leila press company. “When someone asks me how many children I have, I simply say that I have seven children.
“When people ask for more, I say I have three in heaven and four here, so people realize who I am.”
Ms Abdallah named her new baby Selina as it is a mix of the names of their daughters Sienna and Angelina, who died in the accident, and their daughter Liana, who survived.
Mrs. Abdallah recently took Selina to the memorial site for her children and her niece. She said it broke her heart that this was the closest she could get to her brother and sisters.
She and her husband, 44, receive many calls and messages from people who have lost loved ones, asking how they are coping with the tremendous grief.
The Abdallah family as it was before the tragedy that claimed the lives of Antoine (left) and two of his sisters, Sienna and Angelina
His powerful advice is to focus on what you still have. In Abdallah’s case, it is their four surviving children, never forgetting the three who are in heaven.
The driver who killed their children and their niece, Samuel Davidson, was sentenced to 28 years in prison and is not eligible for parole until 2041.
Mr Abdallah said he forgave Davidson “for you, for me and most importantly for the sake of my family” in a victim impact statement.
He revealed last week that Scott Morrison phoned him after the killer was jailed to say: ‘Nothing will ever replace your children, but that’s a good sentence.
Speaking to businessman Mark Bouris on his Straight Talk podcast, Mr Abdallah recalled the time he received a call from Mr Morrison as he left court in April 2021 after Davidson was sentenced to the longest sentence ever imposed in Australia for manslaughter.
Immediately after Samuel William Davidson mowed down a group of children on a Sydney footpath, killing four of them, he tested positive for alcohol and drugs.
“On the day of sentencing, they sentenced the driver. I walked out of court and he was the first person to call me,” he said.
Mr Abdallah, who has become friends with the prime minister after several encounters since the 2020 tragedy, added: “He’s like a normal person, he’s one of us.”
He also revealed he received a text message from the Prime Minister on Father’s Day, saying: ‘Thinking of you’.
“I remember Father’s Day. I was in Rookwood Cemetery, it was my freshman year, I was crying, I was upset and thinking about the kids,” he said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right) and his wife Jenny embrace members of the Abdullah family during a church service in February this year
“He sends me a message ‘Daniel, I’m thinking of you today. “Father’s Day.”
Last year, the Abdallahs launched “i4give Day” in honor of their children, during which people are encouraged to find someone they can forgive.
“Our four children are now our four saints and this day is for them,” the couple said at the time.
“Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself and others.
‘The more you practice, the better you become and it allows you to live in peace and heal. Forgiveness is more for the one who forgives than for the one who is forgiven.
Truck driver Samuel William Davidson has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Véronique Sakr, 11, and her cousins, Sienna Abdallah, eight, and siblings Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13 years.
Mr. Abdallah said Australian Women’s Weekly that they have made a conscious choice not to pass on their pain to their children and that it remains in their minds on a daily basis.
“We don’t want to bring them down. We want them to get married, thrive, live full lives and dream again. That’s what this new baby means,” he said.
Mr Abdallah said Jenny Morrison had offered her family support after their burglary.
“We had our house burglarized at the time about six, eight months after the tragedy,” he said.
Danny Abdallah (right) said he forgave Davidson ‘for you, for me and most importantly for the sake of my family’ in a victim impact statement heard in court in March
“Leila was at home, someone ran upstairs and took jewelry and ran away, it was all over the news.
“His wife Jen calls Leila and says, ‘Listen, I’m going to come stay at your place tonight just to make you feel safe.
“How humbling to see the Prime Minister’s wife reaching out,” he added.
“We said, ‘It’s okay, don’t worry. But she meant with all her heart that she wanted to make sure Leila was okay.
“It’s something from the heart…these are genuine people.”
Leila Abdallah (left) and Danny Abdallah (right) outside Parramatta District Court in Sydney for the sentencing of the man who killed three of their children
On Sunday, the Abdallahs congratulated Anthony Albanese on becoming Australia’s 31st prime minister and believe he will do well.
“Congratulations to our new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Our nation has made up its mind,” they said in a statement.
“To our Prime Minister Scott and his amazing wife Jenny, you have done an incredible job given the circumstances and difficulties we have faced over the past three years.
“Your leadership, your humility and your love for our nation are exceptional.
“Thank you for being there for us through our grief. We love you very much and will always treasure our friendship.