The mother whose children sat at the heart of a international kidnapping attempt earlier this year has revealed what happened after her daughter was taken from her for the first time.
On tonight’s episode of Australian Story, Sally Faulkner said her daughter Lahela had been separated from her without warning by husband Ali Elamine — whom she was living with in Lebanon — when she was only 10 months old.
As Faulkner recalled, the pair had packed Lahela’s things into their car when Elamine asked her to pass their child over to his mother for a hug.
“I handed her over, she took her… she took her and walked into the house,” she said.
The mother-of-three described how after they were separated, Lahela was allegedly driven for two hours before being abandoned in an apartment.
“We got into the apartment and he disconnected the internet, ripped it out of the wall, took my sim card out of my phone, left me a hundred dollar note and left,” she said.
Faulkner described how she comforted herself during this time with the self-assurance it would simply blow over.
"I kind of thought, well, it was just going to be a few days and everything will be alright," she said.
"As time went on, you know, a week had passed and I think he kind of wore me down to a point where I was too scared to do anything."
The Brisbane mother said her ex-partner returned after two weeks and told her to go home without her daughter.
"He gave me my passport, he said, ‘You’re going, Lahela’s staying here.’ I refused at first, I said, ‘I’m not going anywhere’," she said.