A grief-stricken father whose three children were run-down by a drunk motorist asked himself if he should ‘man up and take revenge’ or think of the big picture and ‘forgive the driver’?
Danny Abdallah chose to forgive and on Friday he stood in Parramatta District Court as the man behind the wheel was jailed for at least 21 years for a crime that shocked Australia.
Samuel William Davidson, 31, was speeding, drunk and high on drugs when he struck Sienna Abdallah, eight, Angelina, 12 and Antony, 13, and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11, on February 1 last year in Oatlands in Sydney’s north-west.
Davidson, a professional truck driver, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Veronique Sakr, 11, and her cousins, Sienna Abdallah, eight, and her siblings Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13
But Mr Abdallah said the sentencing had little impact on him and his family. His three children were still dead.
‘From day one the focus was never Samuel of the sentencing. Our focus was on our kids and my wife,’ he told Sky News on Saturday.
‘The sentencing didn’t shake me at all. I wasn’t overly concerned… It wasn’t going to get my kids back.’
Mr Abdallah said he contemplated taking the law into his own hands as the pain overwhelmed him.
‘I had an option. Do I man up and take revenge or do I stay as a dad and forgive the driver?’ he said.
‘I took the choice of being a father because if I taken the other choice of seeking revenge it would have brought my whole household down – Liana, Alex, Michael and Leila – and it wouldn’t have got my kids back.
‘It would have been self-inflicting and we are so glad we chose forgiveness.
‘What has happened has happened. I can’t change the past but I certainly can control what lies ahead.’
Danny Abdallah (right) and wife Leila are seen outside court on Friday after the man responsible for fatally crashing into their children was jailed for 21 years
Mr Abdallah said he asked his eldest surviving daughter Liana (pictured with mother Leila) if she wanted to join him and Leila at the sentencing to which she agreed
He said he felt very sorry for the parents of the driver who were also losing a child and that no sentence could ease the pain because the justice system ‘isn’t a place to service revenge for the victims’.
‘Where my disappointment lies is the way our culture loves drugs and alcohol. That’s where my frustration is, more than the driver,’ he said yesterday outside of court.
‘Hug your kids tight, and love them unconditionally, as you don’t know where life takes you.’
The four children had been walking to buy ice-creams when the 31-year-old ploughed into them after his ute mounted a kerb at Oatlands last year.
Danny Abdallah, whose three children were killed by drunk and drugged driver Samuel Davidson in February 2020, said no sentence would ease the family’s lifelong heartbreak. He is pictured outside Parramatta District Court after the sentencing with his wife Leila
Bridget Sakr (centre) and Craig Mackenzie (right) arrive at Parramatta District Court for Davidson’s sentencing
Judge Bennett said the menacing, dangerous and aggressive driving sustained over a significant period leading up to the tragic event showed all responsibility to the road safety of others was abandoned.
The tragedy was inevitable, but the magnitude of the tragedy extended to the unimaginable, Judge Bennett said.
Three other children survived the crash but one was so badly injured he suffered permanent brain damage and now needs help for performing basic tasks.
Davidson, a professional truck driver, was given a 25 per cent discount to his sentence for pleading guilty to manslaughter and three charges for the injuries caused to three other children.
He was sitting poolside with his housemates drinking Vodka Cruisers and beers, having his first drink about 7am before taking drugs and getting behind the wheel on the day of the fatal crash.
After the crash, Davidson appeared distressed and was heard saying: ‘What have I done? … I have killed people … I am going to jail.’
Davidson was observed by witnesses speeding through a red light, swerving anti-clockwise around a round-about, and driving at a maximum speed of 133km/h in a 50km/h zone.
After the crash, Davidson appeared distressed and was heard saying: ‘What have I done? I have killed people… I am going to jail.’
Davidson’s letter of apology stated that he is heartbroken to have hurt such beautiful families by his disgraceful actions and that he would do anything to relive that day sober and never leave the house.
While in court, Davidson wiped away tears while Mr Abdallah read his victim impact statement.
He did not look in the eyes of his family or the family of the children killed during his sentencing.