News, Culture & Society

British father rekindles romance with Ukrainian refugee after flying to war-torn nation

The tangled love life of a British father branded a love rat for ditching his partner for a Ukrainian refugee before dumping her has taken a new twist – after he flew to the war-torn country to rekindle their romance.

Tony Garnett, 30, insisted that he had forgiven Sofiia Karkadym, 22, for her drunken outbursts after flying out to see her in war-torn Ukraine to rekindle their romance and meet her family.

In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, he told how he wanted to give their relationship another chance after a ten-week split.

He said: ‘I think we can make this work. She’s a really attractive woman and always has interesting stuff to talk about. I want to know her much better and this time we will take things slower.’

Tony Garnett (left), 30, insisted that he had forgiven Sofiia Karkadym (right), 22, for her drunken outbursts after flying out to see her in war-torn Ukraine to rekindle their romance and meet her family

In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, he told how he wanted to give their relationship another chance after a ten-week split

In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, he told how he wanted to give their relationship another chance after a ten-week split

Security guard Tony infamously fell for blonde IT manager Sofiia last May after he and his partner of ten years Lorna Garnett, 28, joined the Government’s scheme to help Ukrainian refugees and invited her into their home in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

He was branded a love rat when he and Sofiia left his family home just ten days after she fled from Russia’s invasion and started living with him and Lorna, the mother of his two daughters.

The couple moved into a rented love nest cottage in Bradford, but their relationship soured as Tony accused Sofiia of being repeatedly drunk and abusive.

He claimed that her heavy drinking and jealousy over his two daughters fuelled arguments between them.

Heavily-tattooed Tony finally threw out his young lover last October after she allegedly rammed a knife into their kitchen wall during one row and they had a furious bust-up as they celebrated his 30th birthday.

Sofiia ended up being arrested by police for harassment after ignoring orders to stay away from him and returning to their home to plead with him to have her back.

She tearfully went back Ukraine with her initial refugee status expiring, as Tony told MailOnline how his relationship with her had been ‘a huge mistake’.

Security guard Tony infamously fell for blonde IT manager Sofiia last May after he and his partner of ten years Lorna Garnett (right), 28, joined the Government's scheme to help Ukrainian refugees and invited her into their home in Bradford, West Yorkshire

Security guard Tony infamously fell for blonde IT manager Sofiia last May after he and his partner of ten years Lorna Garnett (right), 28, joined the Government’s scheme to help Ukrainian refugees and invited her into their home in Bradford, West Yorkshire

But the couple kept in touch with regular video phone calls and last week Tony decided to go and see her in Ukraine.

He flew to Poland and boarded a bus to cross the border before arriving a few hours later at her family home in a village a few hours from Lviv.

The couple have now rekindled their romance and have returned to live together in Yorkshire.

Tony said: ‘To be honest I had missed her and my anger over her drinking had subsided.

‘She promised me she would never touch alcohol again and since that day I got to Ukraine to see her she hasn’t touched any drink. And she hasn’t back in Yorkshire either.

‘I knew that it was very tough for her leaving her family and her country and arriving in Bradford and drink was something she turned to.’

He said he and Sofiia talked things through with her parents and her grandmother who showered him with affection and cooked for him every day.

Tony added: ‘The welcome I got from her family was incredible. I could now see again the qualities in Sofiia from the good nature of her relatives.

‘She is from a very nice family and they are all very loving. They have put their trust in me to look after their daughter and that is what I will do. I have given them my promise.

He was branded a love rat when he and Sofiia left his family home just ten days after she fled from Russia's invasion and started living with him and Lorna, the mother of his two daughters

He was branded a love rat when he and Sofiia left his family home just ten days after she fled from Russia’s invasion and started living with him and Lorna, the mother of his two daughters

The couple moved into a rented love nest cottage in Bradford, but their relationship soured as Tony accused Sofiia of being repeatedly drunk and abusive

The couple moved into a rented love nest cottage in Bradford, but their relationship soured as Tony accused Sofiia of being repeatedly drunk and abusive

‘They had read about what had happened between us and how difficult it was for her when I told her it was all over.

‘I even got recognised when I walked around because of my facial tattoos and the fact we had been in the news a lot there.

‘But they were not judgemental at all and only want what Sofiia want, and that is me which, yeah, I am happy about.

‘It was a pretty miserable time before when we were rowing and it was all down to her drinking, like, up to ten cans of strong lager a day.

‘I haven’t got a job and I took in two more Ukrainian refugees to help them and paid their rent too. Luckily the local authority have now found them a place to live and they are OK.

‘I am skint so the first thing I have to do is get a job and earn some money. Sofiia is going to college soon and we will find a new place to rent.

‘As a security guard, I am supposed to have a low profile, but because I’ve been on television and in the newspapers, the job is now difficult for me to do.’

Tony admitted he had received a barrage of online abuse over his relationship with Sofiia – but he hopes people will now be more accepting of their relationship

He said: ‘I went to Ukraine and brought her back. It was not a great place to be.

He claimed that her heavy drinking and jealousy over his two daughters fuelled arguments between them

He claimed that her heavy drinking and jealousy over his two daughters fuelled arguments between them

Heavily-tattooed Tony finally threw out his young lover last October after she allegedly rammed a knife into their kitchen wall during one row and they had a furious bust-up as they celebrated his 30th birthday

Heavily-tattooed Tony finally threw out his young lover last October after she allegedly rammed a knife into their kitchen wall during one row and they had a furious bust-up as they celebrated his 30th birthday

‘There were regular power cuts and the Russians fired about missiles at Lviv when I was there. Luckily the Ukrainian defence systems intercepted them.

‘I hope people give us a break and let us be. I am thick skinned, but there is no place for strangers to insult us on the internet.’

The couple had discussed marriage when they first got together and have now spoken about getting Tony’s vasectomy reversed so that they can have children when the time is right.

Sofiia said: ‘I love Tony very much and I would like to marry him when we can. I have really missed him.

‘I was very upset when I came here because I left my family behind and I did drink too much. I have promised him that I will never touch any alcohol again and I have not drank any.

‘I am glad that he came to Ukraine to bring me back and that showed me that he really does care for me.

‘Everything that went on before was just because of the tension and the loneliness I felt leaving my family behind.

‘I want to have children with him and get married eventually.

‘I love Yorkshire and the British people have been very nice to me everywhere I’ve gone. It is good to be back.

‘I hope Tony and I can stay together forever. We are very good together, but the arguments spoiled everything.’

Sofiia ended up being arrested by police for harassment after ignoring orders to stay away from him and returning to their home to plead with him to have her back

Sofiia ended up being arrested by police for harassment after ignoring orders to stay away from him and returning to their home to plead with him to have her back

She tearfully went back Ukraine with her initial refugee status expiring, as Tony told MailOnline how his relationship with her had been 'a huge mistake'

She tearfully went back Ukraine with her initial refugee status expiring, as Tony told MailOnline how his relationship with her had been ‘a huge mistake’

Tony’s former partner Lorna admitted to MailOnline that she was still ‘not a big fan’ of her ex.

She said: ‘He is a good dad, but I am surprised they are back as a couple. But they deserve each other as far as I am concerned.’

Tony and Lorna signed up for the Government’s refugee scheme last March because they wanted to help people fleeing from war-torn Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

He grew impatient at how long the process was taking and joined a number of Facebook groups which had Ukrainians looking for sponsors to give them a home in the UK.

Tony made contact with Sofiia through one of the groups and she flew over on May 4 to live in Bradford with him and Lorna, and their daughters, aged three and six.

He told how they ‘just clicked’ and got on really well straight away, partly because he could speak Slovakian which is similar to Ukrainian.

The two them started chatting in a language Lorna did not understand, stayed up to watch TV after she had gone to bed and regularly went to the gym with each other.

They both said that although they were ‘getting on brilliantly’ at this time, ‘it was no more than that’ and ‘innocent’.

But they ended up ‘finding excuses to touch and brush against each other’ and things got tense in the house.

Tony said he would return home to meals cooked by Sofiia who would tell him how ‘lucky Lorna was to have him’.

But the couple kept in touch with regular video phone calls and last week Tony decided to go and see her in Ukraine

But the couple kept in touch with regular video phone calls and last week Tony decided to go and see her in Ukraine

Lorna became angry about the situation and eventually asked Sofiia to leave the family’s home just ten days after she arrived

But she was shocked when Tony told her: ‘If she’s going, I’m going’.

The new couple ended up moved in with Tony’s parents before finding their own place and beginning the process of applying for a permanent visa for Sofiia.

Tony said at the time: ‘I am so sorry for what Lorna is going through, this was not her fault and it was not about anything she did wrong.’

He said his relationship with Lorna ‘was already on the rocks’ when Sofiia came onto the scene.

Lorna told MailOnline of her torment last October after Tony split from Sofiia, saying she had been devastated about his relationship making front page news.

She said: ‘It was a massive shock that Tony left and then you have to deal with it being national news.

‘I was brought up old-fashioned. I’m the sort of woman who insures that her man’s tea is on the table when he comes home for work and I look after the bairns.

‘I had a quiet life until Sofiia came along and now everything has changed. It’s not good.’

Lorna was initially impressed with the young Ukrainian refugee when she arrived at their home after Tony had picked her up from Manchester Airport.

She said: ‘She were lovely and sweet. The first thing she did when she jumped out the car was to come and give me a cuddle.

‘She started crying and I started crying because it were nice, something nice to do.

‘I took her out shopping and bought her everything she needed feminine wise.

He flew to Poland and boarded a bus to cross the border before arriving a few hours later at her family home in a village a few hours from Lviv

He flew to Poland and boarded a bus to cross the border before arriving a few hours later at her family home in a village a few hours from Lviv

The couple have now rekindled their romance and have returned to live together in Yorkshire

The couple have now rekindled their romance and have returned to live together in Yorkshire

‘And a couple of days later, I took her out to Primark and bought her loads of clothes because she had absolutely nothing.

‘She was proper chuffed and happy. And we became friends. She taught me how to cook some Ukrainian dishes, like dumplings.’

Lorna said she first noticed what she described as ‘strange behaviour’ when Sofiia would smarten herself up just before Tony would arrive home from his job as a hospital security guard.

She said: ‘She would lounge around all day in her dressing gown or hoodie and then just before Tony came in, she would change into smart clothes and put all her make up on.

‘She was very flirty with him and at first I thought she was just being young and friendly, but then after a few days I realised she had her eyes set on him.

‘I knew something was wrong. Call it a woman’s instinct if you like. I knew she was trying to come onto him.

‘And then during the daytime when he was at work, she stopped talking to me. I began to realise she saw me as her rival. I knew then that she fancied him.

‘But I would never have imagined that Tony would have left me and his daughters and not just for her, but for anybody.

‘It is just not him. He’s not like that. He’s a fantastic father and has been very good to me. It was a total shock.

‘But she turned his head. When he would come home from work she was all full of joy and would say things like ‘Oh Tony, oh Tony’ to him.

‘She would tell him that she was making his tea that night, but I already made the food. It did annoy me because she had seen me cooking. It was a red flag.’

Lorna said that another wake-up call for her was on the first Sunday, a few days after the Ukrainian arrived.

Tony, Sofiia and Lorna and some friends were sitting in the garden and he moved his chair out of the sunlight as he was feeling warm, and she picked up her chair and moved it right next to him away from the group.

The next day Tony visited his parents and Sofiia insisted on accompanying him. She then asked them if she could stay with them as she was uncomfortable at Lorna’s home.

Tony told Lorna that he felt it his duty to stay at his parents with her as he had sponsored her trip to Britain.

The first night he stayed in his parents’ caravan at the front of their home, but the next day he shared a bed with Sofiia and their relationship began, only for Lorna to discover the affair and throw them both out.

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



Find local lawyers and law firms at USAttorneys.com