A father who lost three of his children in a horrific car crash has revealed that the driver who killed his children is becoming a Maronite Catholic in prison thanks to the family’s forgiveness.
Danny and Leila Abdullah’s children Anthony, 13, Angelina, 12, Sienna, eight, and their niece Veronique Saker, 11, were walking along the pavement to buy ice cream in Oatland, in Sydney’s west, when they were hit by a car. Killed on February 1, 2020.
The driver, Samuel Davidson, was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. He is serving a 20-year sentence.
In a Christian Lives Matter podcast this week, Mr. Abdullah referred to the religious group’s founder, Charlie Bakhos, as the jailhouse’s conversion to Davidson.
Samuel Davison is serving a 20-year sentence after he plowed his car into a group of seven children – four killed instantly while driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Mr Abdullah (pictured with his family before the crash) claims Davison has met his spiritual adviser and wants to become a Maronite Catholic because of the forgiveness he and his wife have shown him.
Mr Abdullah – whose family is himself Maronite Catholic – explained that two men in prison had contacted his spiritual adviser, Father Robert Pierre, and claimed that Davidson wanted to meet him.
‘Leila and I talk to him (For Robert) a lot,’ Mr Abdullah said.
‘(He’s) a good guy and feeds the homeless… and there was a homeless guy he fed who ended up in jail and he said to him “I have a guy who wants to meet you.”
‘There was another man who called him and said “Look Father Robert, I’ve got the driver who ran over the Abdullah children in my cell”.’
Mr Abdullah added the inmates did not know Father Robert was his spiritual adviser, whom he turned to after the tragic deaths of his children.
‘Of all the priests in Australia this man is talking to my spiritual father Father Robert yes and he doesn’t know it,’ Mr Abdullah said.
‘Well, he is [Father Robert] Goes “I know Abdullah parents, I visit them regularly and I talk to them, they come to my church”.
‘(Now he [Davidson] He prays the rosary three times a day, he goes to mass, he studies the Bible and he wants to be a Maronite Catholic.’
Mr Abdullah (right) speaking to Christian Lives founder Charlie Bahkos (left) on his ‘Stand for Truth’ podcast, revealed Samuel Davison had a ‘change of heart’.
Mr Abdullah said he was shocked by Davidson’s change of heart – but said it was because of the forgiveness his family had shown.
Mr Abdullah said he was ‘shocked’ by Davidson’s change of heart and was told it was because of the forgiveness he and his wife Lila had shown.
‘I was grieving. I honestly didn’t expect that Father Robert went to him and talked to him and he made his first confession,’ Mr Abdullah said.
‘They spoke and he [Davidson] She said, “I know, the whole world should have hated me, but because of Danny and Leela’s forgiveness, I have seen life differently.
‘He [Father Robert] He said [Davidson] How sorry he is and you know what he did was wrong but this is what changed my heart.’
A brave Mrs Abdullah returned to the scene two days after the horrific accident, where she held hands and prayed a rosary with loved ones before famously forgiving Davidson for his actions.
‘The guy (the driver)…I can’t hate him at the moment. I don’t want to see him, but I don’t hate him,’ he told reporters.
‘I want to forgive him in my heart, but I want the court to be fair…I’m not going to hate him, because we’re not like that’.
The couple later set up the i4give Foundation – which coincided with the anniversary of the crash – to remember their lost loved ones and help others in similar situations.
Abdullah’s children Anthony, 13, Angelina, 12, Sienna, eight, and their niece Veronique Sakr, 11, died instantly in the crash.
Witnesses saw Davison speeding through a red light, turning counter-clockwise and driving at a top speed of 133 km/h in a 50 km/h zone before the crash.
The Christ-centred foundation aims to engage communities across Australia in ‘a shared embrace of the universal good of forgiveness’.
In June 2022, Danny and Leila received two standing ovations at the Vatican after giving a powerful speech about forgiveness.
Parents from Western Sydney were invited by the Pope to share their painful stories with members of the World Family in Rome 2022.
Mr Abdullah also told Mr Bakhos that he and his wife had spoken to Davison’s parents and discussed the incident over breakfast.
‘I was nervous, it was hard for all of us and hard for them too but you know… we learned from this that there are no winners in this tragedy,’ Mr Abdullah said.
‘Samuel Davidson has a mother who is grieving and going through her pain. We wanted to understand and show them that we were hurting and that they apologized for their son’s actions.
‘I know they lost their daughter to cancer and then a few years later they lost their son now in prison and they have no one.
‘They know what we are going through and they acknowledge it and we acknowledge their grief and pain.’
Danny and Leila Abdullah forgave Davison and started i4give Day and the Foundation – which coincided with the anniversary of the crash – to remember their lost loved ones and help others in similar situations.
Samuel Davison’s original 28-year sentence was commuted in July 2022.
The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal decided – carrying a non-parole period of 21 years – was ‘manifestly excessive’.
His total sentence was reduced to 20 years with a non-parole period of 15 years.
Witnesses saw Davison speed through a red light, turn counter-clockwise and hit a top speed of 133 km/h in a 50 km/h zone before the crash.
Davison’s four-wheel drive mounted the curb and plowed into the group of seven children, killing four instantly.
Despite losing three children, Mrs Abdullah, 37, when asked how many children she has, always says seven – ‘three in heaven and four here’.
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