Aussie mum Sally Faulkner, who was arrested in Beirut after attempting to kidnap her children from their father has opened up about the ordeal and why she decided to let her children go on holiday with her estranged husband in the first place.
Recalling the moment where it all began, Faulkner says she received a skype call from her exAli Elamine who had been looking after their children for a two-week holiday in Lebanon.
“Plans have changed, Sal. The kids aren’t coming home. This is what’s going to happen. Lahela’s not coming back, Sally. She’s staying here with me. All right? Lahela and Noah,’” she tells Australian Story in a two-part story, which will air tonight.
“That’s when every part of me just wanted to fall apart,” she adds.
Faulker says the couple, who met in Dubai when she was working for Emirates Airlines, had split after she first found out she was pregnant, and she moved home to Australia.
“Ali didn’t want a bar of it,” one of Faulkner’s, Gordana Raljevik also tells Australian Story. “I was speaking to him on the phone, he was calling me, calling her, emails, messages, to her, to her family, to herself, just asking her not to have this child.”
However when Faulkner was six months pregnant, Elamine arrived on her doorstop and asked her to marry him.
Three months after Lahela was born the trio moved to Lebanon for a “business venture”.
The couple's relationship however began to deteriorate and Faulkner says after an “incident” at Elamine’s parents’ home where she handed a painter a glass of water, everything changed.
"His family and Ali consider that a big mistake," she continued. "I shouldn't have even made contact in that way. That's basically what started all of the fight[ing] between us."
As they were leaving that day, Elamine asked his mother to take Lahela and as she asked what was going on, her husband told her their daughter would be staying there.
It remains unclear how long Emaline kept Faulkner from her daughter at this time.
Faulkner however admits that years later when she later agreed to let Elamine take the children on a two-week holiday, she thought they were “on the same page” but should have known what he was capable of..
“We were on a good thing, and we were able to co-parent,” she says.
“What if I’d just said ‘no’? What if I’d said, ‘What am I doing? I’m naive, I’m stupid, I’m too trusting. He’s done this before’?”
The two-part Australian Story: When Plans change airs tonight at 8pm on ABC.