Dad who left his partner for Ukrainian refugee says I am not a monster
A dad-of-two who dumped his family for the Ukrainian refugee they'd taken into their Bradford home has defended himself against the abuse the pair have received.
Security company owner Tony Garnett, 29, left his partner Lorna, 28, for Sofiia Karkadym after the 22-year-old had moved in with them as part of the Government's refugee rehoming scheme.
Sofiia had fled the horrors of her hometown Lviv at the start of the invasion and headed to Bradford via Berlin – but, within a week of Tony becoming her sponsor, they'd become an item.
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"Me and Sofiia are doing brilliantly," Tony told YorkshireLive, adding that they are now renting a house together in the city Bradford and are happy – although he claims he's no longer able to see his two children.
"To be honest it's going good. We have got our own house; no drama (and are) getting to know each other."
He added that his family and friends had been supportive because, "They know the true story."
"In terms of the public, they don't have a clue. I am quite thick-skinned – there's two sides. I am getting men messaging me saying 'I wish I could do the same to my wife' and women asking me to run away with them.
"Sofiia is getting abuse, people calling her a home wrecker, and people talking about petitions to deport her."
"I want to tell the truth. She is not a home wrecker. I chose to move her here to save her (from the war)."
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Tony said that he 'saved' Sofiia from the clutches of predatory 50-year-old men when she was in Germany and felt as though he had a "duty of care" towards her.
"I didn't want to pass her from pillar to post," he added.
"I was making her feel safe and welcome. I felt I had a duty of care."
And he claimed that his relationship with Lorna had "numerous problems before Sofiia arrived" and had been "on and off."
He also said that he's received a 'hundred or so' messages online.
"People have offered support and say they trust our judgment and they understand a man is not going to leave a relationship if something is not going on before, he said.
"I've had a few men saying I am an 'animal' and that they wish they could do the same to their missus. I am not a monster at all. I sleep very well at night.
"Before I put up with things for the sake of my kids."
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And he said Sofiia has been called a "home wrecking b****'" – a claim she's always denied – with some adding that's she'll disappear "as soon as her visa arrives."
However, Sofiia revealed that she was feeling "okay" and she didn't worry about what people thought of her.
She'd previously even suggested that Tony's wife was responsible for creating the situation by constantly suggesting something was going on when, initially, it wasn’t.
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"When I do something I do the right thing. Of course, there are troubles and some problems. I know why I am doing this," Sofiia added.
"I don't care what other people will say. In general, I will do what I want."
Sofiia added that she hoped she and Tony will "hopefully (have a) family like normal people."
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