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Two worlds collide: How one hot night ended in tragedy

With a sickening tearing of rubber and metal two worlds collided in the oppressive heat of a Sydney summer night - and changed forever.

"Save them, save them," screamed a resident of Bettington Rd in Oatlands as others ran out and desperately began performing CPR on the children scattered among mangled bikes on the footpath.

At the end of black skid marks 80m from the devastating scene of carnage shirtless driver Samuel Davidson sat stunned at the wheel of his blue Mitsubishi Triton ute, its front horribly caved in, with the engine ticking in the heat.

Emergency services at the scene on Bettington Rd Oatlands on Saturday. Picture: Steve Tyson
Emergency services at the scene on Bettington Rd Oatlands on Saturday. Picture: Steve Tyson

Dead on the pavement behind him lay Antony Abdallah, 13, his little sisters Angelina, 12, and Sienna, 8, and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11.

An 11-year-old boy and two girls aged 10 and 13 were badly injured.

It was the stifling heat after a 38C day that ultimately led to the horrific sliding doors moment that destroyed all of their lives.

Abdallah Siblings L-R: Sienna, Antony and Angelina.
Abdallah Siblings L-R: Sienna, Antony and Angelina.

On Saturday, in the heat, Davidson, 29, a builder, and his mates opted to cool off by drinking beer by the figure eight pool in the backyard of their ­recently rented house on Greens Ave, Oatlands.

At some point towards 8pm the group decided they needed money and Davidson, the son of a retired detective, made the ill-fated decision to get behind the wheel. He was allegedly three times over the legal limit to drive - but he went anyway.

 

Messages left at the roadside memorial on Bettington Rd, Oatlands. Picture: John Grainger
Messages left at the roadside memorial on Bettington Rd, Oatlands. Picture: John Grainger

Just a few streets away another builder, Danny Abdallah, was waiting for the babysitter to arrive before he and wife Leila, 34, mother of their six children, headed out to a 21st birthday party.

It was hot. Mr Abdallah, 41, made the same decision millions of parents make every day to try and "give them a little independence" and told the children they could go and get an ice cream.

"Go for a walk, a little walk and stay together you guys should be OK," he told them. They were good kids, he could trust them. They promised to be home before the sun dropped.

That morning his basketball-mad son Antony had told him he was dedicating that day's game to Kobe Bryant, whose death in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter the weekend before had so moved him.

The Abdallah family is well known in the close knit Maronite Catholic community and respected for their love of family and Christian values.

"I always say I was a full-time father, part-time worker," Mr Abdallah said.

Angelina, who Mr Abdallah called "my little helper" and Sienna, his "little diva" would insist on attending the church ministries on Friday nights in Blacktown where they would help serve food to the needy.

Samuel Davidson, 29, works as a builder. Picture: Facebook
Samuel Davidson, 29, works as a builder. Picture: Facebook

On their bicycles the children, laughing and chattering, turned onto the footpath on Bettington Rd next to the wire fence bordering the Oatlands Golf Club.

At the same time police will allege Davidson, with a 24-year-old mate in the passenger seat beside him and having got his cash from the service station, ran a red light at the busy Pennant Hills Rd intersection. The utility allegedly sped up Bettington Rd and veered across double lines onto the wrong side of the road to overtake a woman driving down the street. Both men allegedly flipped the woman driver the finger as they roared past.

Just up the hill, the seven children would have heard a woman motorist sounding her horn in warning to the utility driver, but they were on the path, together and safe. Children simply trust motorists to do the right thing.

Kay and Allan Davidson. Picture: 9 News
Kay and Allan Davidson. Picture: 9 News

And then everything changed. The Triton allegedly veered off the road, mounted the pavement and smashed through the children, sending bikes and bodies spinning

"It was chaos, carnage," resident Fiona Steele said. In the 10 minutes it took for paramedics to arrive at the scene locals tried frantically to help the children while Davidson and his mate stayed by the car.

Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Corboy said officers would need counselling after witnessing the carnage.

Samuel William Davidson, escorted by police, leaves Westmead hospital. Picture: 7News
Samuel William Davidson, escorted by police, leaves Westmead hospital. Picture: 7News

"This would be one of the worst events I have seen in 40 years of policing," he said, close to tears.

They had been sliding doors decisions on a sultry Sydney night that, in a split second, destroyed lives and three families. "This is a one in a million chance thing," Mr Abdallah said, before urging drivers to "be careful".

Leila and Danny with their six children. The children who were killed are L-R: Antony, 13, Sienna, 8, and Angelina, 12.
Leila and Danny with their six children. The children who were killed are L-R: Antony, 13, Sienna, 8, and Angelina, 12.

Careful not to get in the car drunk, careful not to let your mate drive drunk, careful not to speed, careful not to kill, maim and destroy the lives of young children and their families.

Davidson's own devastated parents, Kay and Allan, have also seen their lives overturned by his arrest and the charges laid against him.

Today Davidson's Facebook page is filled with furious, angry messages.

 

Veronique Sakr was spending Saturday night with her cousins when tragedy struck.
Veronique Sakr was spending Saturday night with her cousins when tragedy struck.
Samuel Davidson was allegedly over the alcohol limit and speeding. Picture: Facebook
Samuel Davidson was allegedly over the alcohol limit and speeding. Picture: Facebook