Scott Morrison‘s wife Jenny Morrison has given a heartfelt speech to the parents of four children who were killed by a drug driver in Sydney last year.
Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, and Sienna Abdallah, 9, and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11, were all killed by a car while walking to get ice cream in Oatlands in Sydney’s north-west on February 1, 2020.
Samuel William Davidson, 30, was high on a cocktail of alcohol, cocaine and MDMA when he lost control of his car at 140km/h and swerved off the road and ploughed into the group of children.
Mrs Morrison spoke at the ‘i4give Day’ ceremony in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens on Sunday; an event the Abdallah and Sakr families launched to be held each anniversary in memory of the children.
‘There absolutely needs to be justice for the innocent loss of life of Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique – beautiful children who had an entire life ahead of them,’ she told the crowd.
Mrs Morrison’s heartfelt speech centred around the Abdallah kids’ parents, Danny and Leila, who last year publicly revealed they had forgiven Davidson for his actions.
Mrs Morrison spoke at the ‘i4give Day’ ceremony on Sunday, an event the Abdallah and Sakr families launched to be held each anniversary in memory of the children
Leila and Danny Abdallah pray during the launch of i4give Day at The Calyx, Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney on Sunday
Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, and Sienna Abdallah, 9, were three of the four victims killed in the horrific crash that shocked Australia in Sydney’s north-west on February 1
‘Forgiveness stems from love. The thing with forgiveness though, is it can actually help the forgiver as much or more than the forgiven,’ she said.
‘When we walk around with a heart and a head full of hate and resentment and unforgiveness we walk around with a suitcase full of baggage.
‘We end up constantly living in the past and we are actually robbing ourselves of our future and then we are not present in our day-to-day.’
Mrs Morrison said she had many friends and strangers ask how the parents could find it in their hearts to forgive Davidson.
‘They are amazing, they are so strong. I could never do that,’ she said.
Mrs Morrison, who is a Pentecostal Christian, said she too is often called to forgive through her own ‘personal faith journey’.
‘Forgiveness will offer you a freedom that will take you out of your current circumstances, allowing you to let go of that heavy baggage,’ she said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Jenny Morrison and her two daughters look on during the launch of i4give Day at The Calyx, Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney on Sunday
Prime minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and family release doves in honour of children killed by a drunk driver a year ago during the launch of i4give Day at The Calyx, Royal Botanic Gardens
Hundreds of mourners paid their respects to the young lives lost at the Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park on Friday for the one-year anniversary mass. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seen in the crowd
‘I’d love for you to look at the beautiful example of these three families who have lost, yet choose to embrace forgiveness.
‘We can let go of that hurt and embrace the freedom that forgiveness brings… and so that Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique’s short time with us has left us with an enduring hope.’
Mrs Morrison said she had formed a strong bond with the families of the children.
‘You guys mean so much and you’ve shared the last three days of services with me. I’m grateful,’ she said.
Also in attendance at the emotional ceremony was the prime minister and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Mr Morrison said his wife, who he has been with his wife for more than 30 years, said she ‘never ceases to amaze’ him.
‘After we learned of the Abdallah and Sakr families tragedies a year ago, Jen has formed a special bond with Leila and Bridget,’ he said.
Today Leila asked Jen to speak at the #i4GiveDay launch. She is such a kind and spiritual soul. As always, what she has to say is from the heart. She doesn’t know any other way.’
Davidson had spent almost the entirety of February 1 – a sweltering summer day – partying with his two housemates at their rental property in Oatlands.
He had a cocktail of drugs and alcohol in his system at the time.
That evening at about 7.45pm, Davidson got into his car with a passenger and drove to a nearby petrol station to get cash out.
CCTV captured the blue Mitsubishi 4WD driving along Bettington Road on their way to the petrol station.
As they drove down the steep hill on the same road just minutes later, Davidson lost control of his vehicle at a speed of close to 140km/h.
The car swerved off the road to the left and ploughed into the group of young children.
Four of the young relatives were killed instantly at the time of the collision, while another cousin, Charbel Kassas suffered serious injuries that left him in a coma for several weeks.
Mrs Morrison’s speech comes two days after hundreds of mourners paid their respects to the young lives lost at the Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral in Harris Park.
Danny and Leila, the parents of Antony, Angelina and Sienna, sat in the front row surrounded by their three other children.
The couple who were a pillar of strength in the days after the crash shared heartwarming accounts of their children on a day they said was for not for hatred but for ‘forgiveness’.
Just hours after the crash and before he had been able to comprehend the loss three of his six children, Mr Abdallah (pictured) fronted cameras to share stories about their lives
Danny Abdallah (back right) and his wife Leila (back) lost three of their six children in the crash. Antony (far left), Angelina (far right), and Sienna (front left), were killed instantly when they were hit by Samuel Davidson’s out-of-control car
Their 11-year-old cousin Veronique Sakr (right, with her mother Bridget and brother Michael) was also killed
During the service, classmates, friends and family all placed roses underneath photos of the children while prayers and songs filled the cathedral.
Loved ones took turns to read a prayer and pay tribute to the lives lost and Ms Abdallah shared a heartbreaking account of her three ‘best friends’.
She described Antony as a ‘selfless gentleman’, and Angelina her ‘saint of strength’, while saying her ‘baby girl’ Sienna could light up any room.
Ms Abdallah said she was constantly in awe of her children who were incredibly selfless and loving.
Antony would offer his food to those around him first, Angelina wrote in a ‘gratitude’ journal every night and on her eight birthday Sienna chose to spend it feeding those in need.
‘My children filled up my heart with love, joy and laughter. My hobby was my kids,’ Ms Abdallah said.
The mother of Antony Abdallah, 13, Angelina Abdallah, 12, and Sienna Abdallah, eight, was devastated as she paid tribute to her lost children at the scene of the crash at Oatlands
Pictured: Family ,friends and community say their farewells to Veronica Sakr who lost her life along with her cousins in February 2020
‘I couldn’t get enough of them. I used to say ”God what have I done to deserve my beautiful kids?”
‘Antony, Angelina and Sienna I love you with all my heart. I miss everything about you, I pray to God we are all reunited one day in God’s time.’
Mr Abdallah also shared a heartfelt message saying despite being the anniversary of his children’s deaths, it was not a day for anger.
‘We sing happy birthday to them, as this is the day they went to heaven, where we will one day hope to join them,’ he said.
‘This is a day of forgiveness, not hate or anger.’