Four young children who were killed in a horror drunk driving accident have been remembered in a heartbreaking memorial service one year after their deaths.
Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, and Sienna Abdallah, 9, and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11, were all killed after a car ploughed into them in Oatlands in Sydney’s north-west on February 1.
Samuel William Davidson, 30, had been driving the ute that hit the children – who were on their way to get ice-cream – and has pleaded guilty to nine charges including four counts of manslaughter.
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.
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’.
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
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.
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
Danny and Leila, the parents of Antony, Angelina and Sienna, sat in the front row surrounded by their three other children
‘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.’
Among the crowd of mourners sat Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
The families will hold another event on Monday night at the site where their children’s lives were taken – to mark the official one year anniversary of the crash that rocked Australia.
Ms Abdallah said she was constantly in awe of her children who were incredibly selfless and loving
Danny and Leila are seen at the crash scene on February 4 2020 just days after the accident
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.
In the aftermath of the crash thousands of friends, family and well wishers from right across Sydney flocked to the makeshift shrine on Bettington Road to pay tribute and leave flowers.
Some of the most poignant moments in the wake of the tragedy came from the Abdallah family.
Just hours after the crash and before he had been able to comprehend the loss three of his six children, Mr Abdallah fronted cameras to share stories about their lives.
‘My name is Daniel Abdallah. I have a wife, Leila, and six beautiful children I’ve been blessed with. Yesterday, I lost three of my children,’ he said, fighting back tears.
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
‘I’m numb. All I just want to say is please, drivers, be careful. These kids were just walking innocently, enjoying each others’ company and this morning I woke up, I’ve lost three kids.’
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.
Despite Davidson’s horrific crime, the Abdallah family have forgiven the 30-year-old after the tragedy.
He is due to be sentenced in March.
Pictured: Family ,friends and community say their farewells to Veronica Sakr who lost her life along with her cousins in February 2020