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"She didn’t really know who I was." Sally Faulkner on the first time her daughter was returned.

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.

Ali Elamine and Sally Faulkner in happier times. (Source: Australian Story/Supplied.)

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.

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"It was only in that moment when I got my passport and I physically saw it in my hand, I thought, 'Oh my God, this is my only chance of possibly get out. I don’t know, I just, I panicked.'"

Sally Faulkner recounts the terrifying events. (Source: Australian Story/Supplied)

Faulkner returned to Australia without Lehela and into the arms of her devastated friends and family.

Her friend Gordana Raljevik described watching as the events wrecked havoc on her friend's mental and physical health.

"It was heartbreaking.  She lost half her body weight in six months," she said.

Falkner said Elamine returned to Australia with her daughter after three months with a desire to repair their relationship.

"It took him three months to turn around and say that he wanted to stay married," she said.

"And I think after a while he realised the right thing to do was to bring her back."

Faulkner said when she and Lahela were finally reunited, the little girl struggled to recognise her own mother.

"She didn’t really know who I was," she said.

"I held a lot of resentment towards Ali. When he brought her back, all she wanted was him."

The second installment of Sally Faulkner's tale on Australian Story will air next week on Monday the 24th of October at 8pm.