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Brit father who left his family for Ukranian refugee reunites with children after judge lifts restraining order
7 October 2022, 12:37 | Updated: 7 October 2022, 15:26
A British father who left his partner and two children for a Ukrainian refugee has been allowed to reunite with his children after a judge lifted a restraining order.
Tony Garnett, 30, his former partner Lorna, 28, and the children were able to be legally together for the first time in five months.
Tony had been under a 'non-molestation' order after he left Lorna for Ukrainian refugee Sofiia Karkadym, ten days after the couple welcomed her to their home in Bradford.
His former partner, Lorna, had taken out the restraining order out of fear that Tony's new girlfriend would persuade him to move to Ukraine and take the former-couple's two children with him.
But a judge has now removed the ban on Tony, who celebrated by collecting his daughters from school and taking them to a park.
"I am chuffed beyond words. It's so amazing to be back with my kids. They come before anything," Tony told MailOnline.
The family hearing at Bradford Crown Court heard that there was no acrimony between the couple and that Tony had split with Ukranian refugee 22-year old Sofiia Karkadym.
Ms Karkadym has flown back to the war-torn country and to her family after Tony ended the relationship last week.
Lorna said outside court: "I was always worried about the words 'molestation' in court against Tony. It can send all the wrong messages.
"He is actually a wonderful father who loves his daughters to bits. I know he has missed them a lot.
"But I had to get a court order against him because I was really worried in case his girlfriend, who he left me for, persuaded him to run away to Ukraine with her and our daughters.
"When I rationalised, I realise that I was being unnecessarily paranoid. He would never do that, but it's been difficult to communicate with him when she was on the scene.
"Until today, we hadn't really talked properly or heard each other's views for months.'Sofiia being on the scene was poisoning the family. I'm really happy that she has gone.
"Tony and I are not getting back together and I'm now seeing somebody else. He's fine with that.
"But we're gonna put our children first. We hardly ever rowed before anyway, but him leaving me for her definitely put us into a very difficult situation regarding the children.
"They really missed him. They kept asking where their daddy was. I'm glad now that he can see them when he wants. I'm happy about that."
Tony said: "One of the main reasons I split with Sofiia was because she hated the fact that I had two daughters I would always talk about them. She's not a mother, so she would not understand.
"She used to say things like 'you love the children more than me'. And she was absolutely right.
"Getting involved with Sofiia was a huge mistake. I've explained all the reasons before and I'm glad it's all behind me now.
"I'm going to move on with my life and I've had so many offers from people in TV and magazines who want to put me on the cover, so I'm gonna be busy with all that kind of stuff and spend as much time as I can with our daughters."
Tony and Lorna were together for eight years, and started talking again after a MailOnline interview brought them back together at the Bradford home they shared last week.
Tony's affair with Soffia began when she came to the couple's home after fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
They admitted they were attracted to each other, and moved out of the family home and into Tony's parents place before finding a place to rent.
The pair were initially happy together - even talking about marriage. But a series of arguments, which Tony says were caused by Soffia drinking strong beer, began to put a strain on the relationship.
Soffia admitted she found it difficult to accept that Tony could not have any more children, having had a vasectomy, and that he already had two children with his ex-partner, who he regularly talked fondly about.
But Tony said: "I am happy to remain friends with her. She's been messaging me from Ukraine she's okay.
"The best thing that has happened is that I'm back with my daughters. They have been 'daddy this daddy there' and that really makes me happy.
"Just to be able to take them to the park and also McDonald's is the simple things that I have missed.
"Although we're not together her mum and me, I'm pleased that I'm back with them."