The parents of the alleged drunk driver accused of killing four children have spoken out for the first time since the tragedy, saying their son has a ‘good heart’ and is deeply remorseful for his alleged actions.
Allan and Kay Davidson broke their silence on Monday, just days after their son Samuel William Davidson was charged with four counts of manslaughter and high-range drink driving over the alleged incident at Oatlands in Sydney’s north-west.
Speaking from their the Central Coast home, the emotional parents choked back tears as they expressed their sympathy for the families of the victims while revealing they too, lost a child a decade ago.
‘We’re absolutely devastated for the loss of those children,’ Mr Davidson told 9News.
‘We’re no stranger to grief, we lost a daughter ten years ago, and now effectively, we’ve lost a son.
‘Those poor families have lost their children. No words can help them, and I’m so sorry to them,’ he added, tearfully.
Mrs Davidson revealed they spoke to their 29-year-old truck driver son on Sunday, who is being held in isolation behind bars, and said he is in disbelief over what has unfolded, and regrets his alleged actions.
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Allan and Kay Davidson (pictured) broke their silence on Monday, just days after their son Samuel William Davidson was charged with mowing down four young children in an alleged drunk-driving incident in Oatlands, Sydney’s north-west
Speaking from their the Central Coast home, the emotional parents choked back tears as they expressed their sympathy for the families of the victims while revealing they too, lost a child a decade ago
Samuel William Davidson (pictured) was allegedly three times over the legal blood alcohol limit when his Mistubishi Triton allegedly mounted the kerb and slammed into a group of seven children riding bikes on a footpath in Oatlands
‘He was very quiet. He was just in shock as well,’ she said.
‘He is so, so sorry. He can’t believe what’s happened, happened.’
Mr Davidson, a retired NSW police detective, added: ‘He has a good heart. I’m sure he’s just as devastated as we are and understands the consequences for his [alleged] actions. We won’t be seeing him for many years, I’m sure.’
Earlier, the distraught mother of three children killed on Saturday publicly forgave the man who allegedly struck them, saying she couldn’t find it in her heart to hold on to anger.
Leila Abdallah’s daughters Angelina, 13, and Sienna, 9, and her son Antony, 12, died when the out-of-control ute allegedly struck them as they walked together on a footpath at Oatlands, on Saturday night.
Supported by friends, Mrs Abdallah returned to the scene of the horror incident on Monday where she prayed a rosary before reading the condolence letters on hundreds of bouquets of flowers left at the scene.
‘The guy (driver)… Right now I can’t hate him. I don’t want to see him, but I don’t hate him,’ she said.
‘I think in my heart to forgive him, but I want the court to be fair… I’m not going to hate him, because that’s not who we are,’ she said.
In the same spot where a day earlier her husband Danny told stories about his three children so tragically taken from him and said they are now ‘in a better place’, Mrs Abdallah said she could efeel them hugging her.
Leila Abdallah, the mother of three children killed by an alleged drunk driver, bravely returned to the scene of the accident on Monday morning to pray the rosary
Friends gathered around Mrs Abdallah as she read condolence cards left at the scene of the devastating accident which claimed the lives of three of her six children
Pictured: Antony Abdallah (far left) 13, killed in the horror crash as he and his siblings went to get ice cream on Saturday evening in Sydney’s western suburbs. His younger sisters Angelina, 12, (centre) and Sienna (far right) eight, were also killed
A schoolgirl who was killed alongside her three cousins was identified as 11-year-old Veronique Sakr. Veronique’s family said in the statement released on Sunday they were ‘devastated’ by the loss of ‘our beautiful girl’ in the horrific crash
‘Danny and myself were blessed to have six kids. We loved our kids so much… I can feel them hugging me right now, ‘ she said.
‘We tried to teach them to pray the rosary, to read their Bible, to believe their faith, to be good people in life and to show God’s face through them.
‘I asked God to bring us all together as a community to pray together, but I didn’t ask him to take my kids.
‘To be honest with you, I am sad, I am heartbroken, but I am at peace because I know my kids are in a better place. My kids are angels and I know right now they are with us.
‘(But) I am still waiting for them to come home. My daughter was in surgery today and the first thing when I opened my eyes this morning I was waiting for Antony, Angelina and Sienna to run in and see her… it feels very unreal.’
The mother’s brave outing came as it was revealed the man accused of killing her children has been placed in isolation in jail so other prisoners cannot harm him.
Davidson is being kept alone in Silverwater Prison’s processing facility in western Sydney. When he is moved to a long-term jail before his next court appearance on April 2, he will be placed in protective custody.
A witness came forward to police on Sunday night claiming she saw Davidson driving erratically moments before the fatal accident, and sticking his finger up at other motorists.
Police said Davidson and a male friend had been to a nearby Caltex service station to get cash from an ATM and were returning home when they crashed.
A female witness told police she ‘beeped’ her horn continuously as she saw Davidson allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road moments before mounting the kerb.
Police claim Davidson (pictured) had been drinking at home with a couple of friends before he allegedly got behind the wheel of his ute to get cash at a service station
Friends of the accused have expressed their shock over his alleged involvement in the tragedy, describing him as ‘one of the nicest blokes’
Davidson, who is the son of a retired NSW police detective, had flaunted his party-animal lifestyle on social media, often sharing photos of himself with a beer in his hand
Pictures posted on social media showed Samuel William Davidson partying at home in his ‘bachelor pad’
School mates of Davidson, who attended Terrigal High on the NSW Central Coast, told Daily Mail Australia the accused drink-driver was a ‘larrikin’ in class who went on to do a building traineeship.
‘I got the shock of my life when I saw him on TV on Sunday morning,’ one friend said.
‘He was a larrikin, good fun and all of that… I just can’t believe’.
Davidson had flaunted his party-animal lifestyle on social media, often sharing photos of himself with a beer in his hand.
By Sunday night, Facebook trolls had bombarded his page with over 1,000 comments.
‘Rot in hell,’ one person wrote. ‘You should never be in peace,’ another said.
Davidson is facing up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted of 20 offences including four counts of manslaughter, high-range drink driving and running a red light, after Saturday’s horrendous crash.
He was allegedly three times over the legal blood-alcohol limit when his Mistubishi Triton mounted the kerb on Bettington Road – one of the main thoroughfares through Oatlands – and slammed into a group of seven children.
At the rental property where Davidson was living in Oatlands, literally around the corner from the crash scene, neighbours said he and his two housemates were ‘nice kids’.
‘They seemed like nice kids, they were always polite to us.
‘When they moved in about four months ago they came and introduced themselves and said: It’s going to be a bit of a bachelor pad and we’ll try and keep it down, we’ll try and finish by 12pm. ‘And they did, we never had any complaints with them.
‘It’s sad for everyone involved, the parents who lost children and the parents of this man – there’s no winners from this.’
Davidson (pictured being taken away in handcuffs and shirtless) was arrested at the scene and remains in custody. He did not appear at Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday and has been refused bail until his next court appearance in April
Police claim Davidson had been drinking with friends at home before he got behind the wheel of his ute. He drove to a Caltex service station about 1.8km away from his Oatlands home to get cash. While on his way home, he allegedly ran a red light before crashing into a group of seven children
Siblings Antony Abdallah, 13, Angelina Abdallah, 12, Sienna Abdallah, eight, and their 11-year-old cousin Veronique Sakr, were killed in the crash.
Antony was in year eight at The King’s School in North Parramatta. Angelina and Sienna went to the Tara Anglican School for Girls in the same suburb and their cousin Veronique went to Saint Sabina College in Strathfield.
CALLS FOR BLOOD-ALCOHOL LIMIT TO BE CHANGED TO ZERO
Experts have called for an overhaul of Australia’s drink-driving laws in the wake of the Oatlands tragedy that left four young children dead.
Dr John Crozier, of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, suggested a zero-tolerance approach in NSW in a bid to curb drunk-driving related deaths.
The legal blood-alcohol concentration limit for driving in Australia is currently 0.05 per cent.
Dr Crozier said the government should follow in the footsteps of European countries such as Slovakia and Romania, where the legal limit is 0.00, or Scandinavian countries, where it has been lowered to 0.02.
‘It’s reasonable to further explore whether we should have a zero blood-alcohol requirement for all drivers,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
Three others were seriously injured, including an 11-year-old boy and two girls, aged 10 and 13, who were taken to Westmead Children’s Hospital.
The boy woke from an induced coma on Monday morning and is in a serious but stable condition. Both girls are stable.
Witnesses told The Daily Telegraph that Davidson, who was also charged with running a red light, had allegedly been travelling on the wrong side of the road moments before the crash.
His passenger gave CPR to the victims while Davidson stayed at the scene until police arrived.
CCTV footage captured the vehicle travelling at speed down the street minutes earlier.
Davidson was arrested at the scene and remains in custody. He was seen being taken away in handcuffs and shirtless.
He has not entered any pleas and did not appear at Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday where he was refused bail until his next court appearance on April 2. Before the crash he was not known to police.
Neighbours said that Davidson – and two friends had recently moved into a rented home in Oatlands, which was described as a ‘typical kind of bachelor house’.
‘They seemed like normal young guys, they introduced themselves and said they would have the odd party but if it got too loud, just to tell them,’ the resident said.
Davidson appeared to flaunt his partying lifestyle on Facebook, often sharing photos of himself beer-in-hand at events with friends.
In other posts he shared his excitement for upcoming dance parties across Sydney.
CCTV footage captured the 4WD speeding down Bettington road before the fatal incident
Seven children were riding their bikes when they were allegedly hit by a blue 4WD driven by a drunk driver three times over the legal limit (pictured)
The crash occurred on Bettington Road, one of the main thoroughfares through Oatlands - a suburb to the north-west of Parramatta
Friends of the accused have expressed their shock over his alleged involvement in the tragedy, with one describing him as ‘one of the nicest blokes’.
‘It’s a horrible and truly shocking day for everyone involved. Those poor babies, their poor parents, Sam’s poor parents,’ another friend, who did not wish to be named, told Daily Mail Australia.
Police will investigate Davidson’s phone records and toxicology tests are underway to determine whether the driver had other substances in his system.
Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Jason Joyce said the driver remained at the scene until the police arrived and there were indications his 24-year-old passenger tried to help some of the children. Neither the driver nor the passenger were injured.
In a press conference on Sunday, NSW Police assistant commissioner Michael Corboy became emotional as he said the accused was looking at the maximum penalty for the alleged manslaughter.
‘Manslaughter charges carry the ultimate penalty, so lengthy jail periods at the maximum. We think we have a very strong briefing,’ he told reporters when asked about the punishment the alleged offender could receive.
The maximum sentence for manslaughter in New South Wales is 25 years.
Mr Joyce described the children’s death as a ‘tragedy we haven’t seen for some time’.
Earlier, the three siblings’ father, Danny Abdallah, 41, addressed the media saying his children ‘were in a better place.’
He revealed his final words to his kids were, ‘go for a little walk, stay together, you guys should be OK.’
‘Give them a little bit of independence. This is one in a million. They were just walking on the footpath,’ he said.
The father-of-six said all seven children involved in the tragedy were related and were staying at the Abdallah house.
Mr Abdallah and his wife Leila had had six children. Three of his kids, and the daughter of his cousin, were killed on Saturday
The mother of Antony Abdallah, 13, Angelina Abdallah, 12, and Sienna Abdallah, eight, held her mouth as she approached the floral tributes with two others
The mother (centre) of the three siblings killed folded her arms as she arrived at the scene on Sunday morning, after the children’s father Daniel Abdallah said he was ‘numb’ from their deaths
Leila Geagea (pictured in grey kneeling down) was among a crowd of mourners on Sunday morning as she grieved the loss of three of her children after they were allegedly ploughed into by a drunk driver in Oatlands in Sydney’s western suburbs
A photo of the victims hangs from a fence at the scene where seven children were hit by a four-wheel drive (4WD) in the suburb of Oatlands in Sydney
A small white cross statue sits against a fence on Sunday at the scene of the crash
‘I don’t know what to say. I’m numb,’ Mr Abdallah said. ‘All I want to say is please, drivers, be careful.
‘These kids were just walking innocently, enjoying each other’s company … and this morning I woke up and I have lost three kids. Please, just, make sure you love your loved ones, your kids especially.
HOW THE TRAGEDY UNFOLDED
* Seven children were riding their bikes along the footpath of Beddington Road, Oatlands, just before 8pm on Saturday
* The children were on the way to buy ice cream when a Mitsubishi 4WD allegedly ploughed into them
*Residents raced to children’s aid and frantically tried to save them while waiting for emergency services
*Four children – including a boy, two of his sisters and a family friend – died at the scene
* Another boy, ten, was rushed to hospital with critical head injuries but is now in a stable condition
* Two girls were taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries
*Male 4WD driver, a 29-year-old from Oatlands, underwent roadside breath test and returned positive result
*The alleged driver Samuel Davidson was arrested and taken to Castle Hill Police with his 24-year-old male passenger
*Davidson was charged with four counts of manslaughter
‘I always say [I’m a] full-time father, part-time worker. They were my priority. And now they’re gone.’
He added the eldest of the three children he lost, Antony, was a ‘very handsome boy’ who loved playing basketball.
‘He woke up that morning and said, ‘We’re going to play this game for Kobe [Bryant].”’
The devastated father meanwhile described Angelina as his ‘little helper’.
‘Anything I needed, she had my back,’ he said. ‘And Sienna, she was my little diva. My little actress. They’ve gone to a better place.’
On Sunday, Veronique’s family released a statement saying they were ‘devastated by the tragic and senseless loss of our beautiful girl’.
‘Words cannot describe the pain we feel for all the families impacted by this tragedy,’ the family said.
‘Veronique was a vibrant 11-year-old girl, full of life, love and had a maturity well beyond her young years.
‘Veronique brought us all such joy and will be forever remembered. Veronique will remain in our hearts always.
‘We would like to thank the emergency services, first responders and all who attended the tragic scene.
‘God bless you, Veronique.’
In a statement shared online on Sunday afternoon, Santa Sabina College principal Paulina Skerman said Veronique had ‘tragically lost her life last night along with three of her cousins’.
Emergency service crews described being confronted with ‘carnage and chaos’ on arrival at the scene.
Their father Daniel Abdallah (pictured addressing media) broke down in tears outside his home on Sunday and said he was ‘numb’ after losing three children
The mother was comforted as she inspected floral tributes on the ground following Mr Abdallah’s emotional tribute to his children
A man pauses near flowers placed at the scene where seven children where hit on a footpath by a four-wheel drive in Oatlands
A woman at the scene was in tears as she knelt in front of a line of floral tributes at the scene of the crash on Sunday morning
Police said on Sunday Davidson did not try to flee the scene after the alleged accident and his passenger attempted to perform CPR.
Assistant commissioner Corboy added, however, that the driver refused to be interviewed by police and they were building a case against him after conversations with witnesses.
‘I’d like to send the message out today that drink-driving, speeding, poor behaviour on the roads, will not be tolerated, Mr Corboy said.
‘Tragedies do occur, but in my time in policing, this is one of the most tragic involving young children dying.’
Davidson has been charged with 20 offences including four counts of manslaughter, four counts of dangerous driving occasioning death while driving under the influence, four counts of dangerous driving occasioning death while driving in a dangerous manner, two counts of causing bodily harm by misconduct while in charge of a motor vehicle and negligent driving.
There was an outpouring of emotion from distraught witnesses at the scene outside Oatlands Golf Club on Bettington Road, which has a speed limit of 50km/h.
There was an outpouring of emotion from distraught witnesses at the scene outside Oatlands Golf Club on Bettington Road, which has a speed limit of 50km/h
A woman pauses with a young girl near flowers placed at the scene where seven children were hit on a footpath by a four-wheel drive in the Sydney suburb of Oatlands
The victims’ families are believed to be members of the local Maronite Christian community
Dozens of people have stopped by the site of the crash to pay their respects to the young lives lost on Saturday
The street is now lined with flowers, balloons and condolence messages to the victims and their families
Two well-wishers are pictured at the scene. The night before onlookers had pleaded with police to be let past cordons as a large crowd gathered
Panicked onlookers were seen pleading with police to be let past cordons, while women sobbed as they hugged and consoled each other.
The tragedy has rocked the close-knit community, where the family is well known.
NSW Police assistant commissioner Michael Corboy looked tearful at a press conference on Sunday afternoon as he said the accused was looking at the maximum penalty for the alleged manslaughter
‘I can’t even comprehend it,’ a friend of the father told The Sunday Telegraph.
‘He has six kids – he’s lost half his family. They’ve lived here for years – [the father’s] a builder – everyone around here knows him.’
One neighbour recalled the frantic efforts of residents moments after the crash.
‘People ran over and were doing CPR until the paramedics got here. One woman was screaming out: ‘Save them, save them’,’ they said.
Another described hearing brakes squealing and a ‘great big crash’ which left skid marks on the road and footpath.
The victims’ families are believed to be members of the local Maronite Christian community.
‘Tonight before you sleep we ask that you remember in your prayers a young Maronite family from our Parish who has been devastatingly affected by a serious accident,’ the Living Maronite Facebook page posted.
‘We keep them all in our prayers.’
‘Please pray for the Maronite family who were involved in that accident tonight in Oatlands. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace,’ a parishioner wrote.
The first paramedics who arrived on scene dealt with harrowing scenes.
‘They were confronted with carnage – a very difficult scene and a lot of chaos,’ NSW Ambulance Inspector Andrew McAlpine told reporters.
‘This is an incredibly hard time for emergency services, notwithstanding the loss the the families have sustained.’
‘It’s incredibly difficult for police, fire rescue and the ambos to be confronted with such chaos and carnage.’
A large gathering of distressed family and friends comforted each other outside the hospital where the three surviving children were recovering.
‘They’re obviously very distraught and under these circumstances we can’t provide much information to them at this stage so that’s difficult for them,’ Acting Assistant Commissioner Joyce said.
‘But we’re trying to give them as much support as we can. A number of family members are at the hospital and we’re trying to help them through this really difficult time.’
Footage of the crash scene showed police cordons and extensive damage to the blue Mitsubishi 4WD’s front bonnet.
‘A horrific accident in Oatlands this evening. My heart goes out to those involved, their loved ones, friends and first responders,’ Parramatta councillor Donna Davis wrote.
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