Sisters dragged home in tears
By Kate Kyriacou
The Daily Telegraph
October 08, 2012 12:00AM
TWO of the four Italian sisters sent home from Australia after an international custody battle broke down in tears at the gates of their grandparent's villa yesterday after their failed attempt to escape from the property.
The girls clung to the gates and grabbed on to reporters, desperately pleading for help to be returned to Australia.
One of the girls was dragged back inside the building by her father, who said he is "destroyed" by their anger towards him.
He called on Australia to "be calm" and give them time to heal.
The sisters, aged eight to 15, were forced kicking, screaming and sobbing for their mother on to an international flight after a court ordered they be sent back to Italy.
They arrived at their paternal grandparents' home in a village near Florence on Friday, ending a lengthy legal battle in which the girls fought to remain in Australia where they had lived with their mother on Queensland's Sunshine Coast for the past two years.
Their Australian mother says she is terrified of returning to Italy in case she is arrested on kidnapping charges and has repeatedly claimed she left because her relationship with him was abusive, which he has strenuously denied.
The Italian man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, broke his silence with the Australian media to plead for "calm" so that his daughters could heal and become accustomed to their new life.
"I am destroyed because my daughters remain not well," he told The Daily Telegraph through an interpreter.
He said he had not allowed them to speak to their mother since their return as he feared it would inflame the situation.
"She telephoned yesterday, my ex-wife, insulting me, (calling me) d ... head, bastard, f ... off," he said.
"I said to her, stay calm, it is impossible for you to speak to the girls.
"I hope she comes here in peace. That is my wish. If she continues with the war and the struggles, it's not going to help anything."
He described images of the children crying and screaming for their mother as Australian Federal Police dragged them on to an international flight as "dramatic", blaming the slow-moving judicial system for their distress.
"It's (past) 2 1/2years and the result should have come way before this time," he said.
"Because all that time has passed, it has created all this stress for the girls."