The father of three young children killed by an alleged drink driver in Sydney’s west last month says he still ‘cannot fully comprehend’ the tragedy that shocked Australia.
Almost six weeks since the Oatlands tragedy, Danny Abdallah said he and his wife Leila are no closer to coming to terms the deaths of their son Antony, 13, and daughters Angelina, 12, and Sienna, 9.
The three Abdallah children and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11, were killed in a horror accident as they walked to get ice cream on February 1. Police allege Samuel William Davidson, 29, was drunk when he lost control of his ute and ploughed into the group.
Mr and Mrs Abdallah, and Veronique’s parents Bob and Bridget Sakr, gathered on Wednesday night – the 40th day since their children’s deaths – as is tradition in the Maronite Christian faith, marking the end of the family’s grieving period.
In scenes reminiscent of their funerals less than a month ago, large photos of each of the children sat on the alter at the front of Our Lady of Lebanon co-cathedral in Parramatta.
Mr Abdallah told the packed congregation during the emotional service how crucial his faith has to both he and Mrs Abdallah since the tragedy, and said they believe the four children are now ‘with God’.
Danny Abdallah told the packed congregation at the 40-day mass for the four children killed in the Oatlands tragedy that he and wife Leila are struggling to ‘comprehend’ the horror accident
Sitting in the same spot where just weeks earlier tears had flowed readily at the funeral for their three children, Mr and Mrs Abdallah offered the packed congregation a comforting smile
Just as they did at the funeral for their three kids, Danny and Leila Abdallah sat with their daughter Leanna in between them
Antony, 13, Angelina, 12, and Sienna Abdallah, 9, (all left) and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 10, (right) were be mowed down by an alleged drunk driver as they walked to get dessert on Bettington Road, Oatlands, about 8pm on Saturday, February 1
Grieving mothers Bridget Sakr and Mrs Abdallah hold each other’s hands before addressing Wednesday’s memorial mass
‘Our hearts are in a lot of pain and our minds cannot fully comprehend all that has happened,’ Mr Abdallah said.
‘However as for me, me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Please, do what only you can do to give us strength.
Our hearts are in a lot of pain
‘We know Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique are in glory with you. You called them home at this time and I trust you know best.’
As Mr and Mrs Abdallah entered the church with their surviving daughter Leanna in between them, the hundreds at the service rose in unison.
In almost the exact same spot where just weeks ago tears had flowed freely, today Mrs Abdallah offered the congregation a comforting smile.
During the service Monsignor Shora Maree praised Michael Sakr, the older brother of Veronique for his ‘inspiring’ efforts at her funeral.
The packed mass memorial at Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Harris Park marks the end of the families’ grieving period
Mr Abdallah looks over the picture of his cousin Bridget’s daughter Veronique, which sat next to similar images of her three cousins Antony, Angelina and Sienna
‘Our hearts are in a lot of pain and our minds cannot fully comprehend all that has happened,’ Mr Abdallah (pictured with his son ) said
Danny Abdallah holds his twin boys’ hands as they look over the photographs of Sienna (left) and Angelina (right) on the alter
Leila Abdallah (pictured on Wednesday night) started ‘The Four Angels’ blog to remember her three children and their cousin.
At the completion of his sister’s service, Michael joined his school bandmates and led the funeral procession from the church grounds.
‘After all you had to go through, I think that spirit you have… you led and stood up, that’s doing God’s work,’ Monsignor Maree said.
Monsignor Maree also told the congregation how both Mrs Abdallah and Mrs Sakr had in recent weeks dreamed about their daughters Angelina and Veronique.
‘Both of them had the dream separately and the two girls were preoccupied, almost busy, but yet happy,’ he said.
Mrs Sakr looks upon the photograph of her smiling daughter Veronique during the 40-day memorial mass on Wednesday
Mrs Abdallah (left) and Mrs Sakr (right) had the same dream about their daughters Angelina and Veronique in recent weeks, the congregation heard
At the same church just weeks earlier Antony, Sienna and Angelina were farewelled by almost 2000 mourners (pictured)
Followers of the Maronite religion believe the souls of the dead remain on Earth for 40 days after their deaths.
Wednesday night’s mass symbolises the leaving of the children’s souls from Earth.
Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique were walking with three other cousins to go and get ice cream at the local shop when they were allegedly rundown by Samuel William Davidson.
The 29-year-old had allegedly spent the day drinking before getting in the driver’s seat of his ute.
As he drove down Bettington Road, Oatlands, at speed he allegedly lost control and veered onto the footpath – ploughing into the group.
Four children died instantly, while their cousin Charbel Kassas remains in hospital in a serious condition.
Danny Abdallah (third right) and his wife were inundated with comforting words from mourners at the mass memorial
During Wednesday night’s mass Monsighor Shora Maree praised the ‘inspiring’ efforts of Michael Sakr (pictured) who bravely lea a marching band at the front of the funeral procession for his 11-year-old sister Veronique
Michael and his bandmates walked ahead of the hearse carrying his sister Veronique’s coffin, as hundreds of school kids lined the street in a guard of honour
This is the heartbreaking final selfie taken just moments before the Oatlands tragedy. (L to R) Mabelle Kassas, Angelina Abdallah, Sienna Abdallah, Veronique Sakr and Leanna Abdallah, all pose happily for the photo just minutes before 8pm on February 1, Saturday
In the days after the tragedy, thousands of people flocked to the crash site to pray and leave floral tributes for the four kids
Mrs Abdallah last week shared the heartbreaking last selfie taken by the cousins just a few hundred metres up the road from where four of them would be killed.
‘Their last sunset walk on this earth. Saturday 1/2/2020 before God called them back home,’ the devastated mother posted next to the photo on Facebook.
She has also started a blog called ‘The Four Angels’ to remember her three children and their cousin.
‘I’ve started a page where I will be sharing what’s in my heart, the wonderful gift my children were and how blessed I was to have them in my life,’ Mrs Abdallah wrote.
‘Thank you so much for your kind words and the support during this difficult time.’
Davidson, 29, is facing 20 charges over the crash including four of manslaughter and is due to face the Parramatta Local Court on April 1