A Ukrainian refugee who ran off with a dad-of-two days after arriving in the UK said she could see how “unhappy” he was with his long-term partner.
Sofiia Karkadym, 22, was welcomed into the Bradford home Tony Garnett shared with Lorna and their children.
But just 10 days later, security guard Tony, 29, announced he and Sofiia are in love – and they promptly moved into his mum and dad’s house together.
Pals say Lorna, 29, has been left “absolutely devastated” by the decision.
Read Also: Man Took In A Ukrainian Refugee To Live With Him And His Wife.… He Then Ran Off With Her After Ten Days, Saying They’re in love
Sofiia, who fled the city of Lviv at the start of the war, says she now feels “safe” with Tony in the UK.
“As soon as I saw him I fancied him,” she said.
“It’s been very quick but this is our love story. I know people will think badly of me but it happens.
“I could see how unhappy Tony was.”
And Tony said the pair are now dreaming of their futures together.
“We’re planning the rest of our life together,” he told The Sun.
“We’re sorry for the pain we’ve caused but I’ve discovered a connection with Sofiia like I’ve never had before.
“I know people will think this has happened so fast, but Sofiia and I know this is right.
“It began with a simple desire from me to do the right thing and put a roof over the head of someone in need, a man or woman.
“But it was Sofiia who came into my life and that’s something I’ll always be thankful for.”
Tony signed up to the Government refugee homing scheme as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensified.
But he found the application process too slow so took to social media to offer help.
Tony, who works in an NHS drop-in centre, was introduced to Sofiia on Facebook and offered to become her UK sponsor.
Read Also: ‘Putin Chose This War, And Now He And His Country Will Bear The Consequences’ – Biden Announces New Sanctions On Russia For Invading Ukraine
IT manager Sofiia travelled to Berlin where she waited weeks for her UK visa to go through.
She eventually flew into Manchester on May 4 and moved in with Tony and Lorna in West Yorks.
However, tensions quickly built. Tony moved his six-year-old daughter from her room into a bunk bed with her three-year-old sister to make space — despite Lorna’s objections.
Tony and Sofiia then grew closer before Lorna ordered her to leave.
“It was obvious from the start that Sofiia and I just clicked,” he said.
“I speak a little Slovakian and it’s not dissimilar to Ukrainian so I was able to make myself understood to her in her language.
“But if anything that made things worse because Lorna didn’t know what we were talking about. Sofiia and I would sit and chat, have a drink and watch TV with Ukrainian subtitles, sometimes after Lorna had gone to bed.
“We were getting on brilliantly but at that time it was no more than that — although I can see why Lorna started to feel jealous and resentful of her.”
Sofiia began accompanying Tony to the gym in Bradford, where they would work out together and then sit talking in his car on the top floor of a multi-storey car park.
Tony said: “I knew something was happening between us and that Sofiia felt the same — it was something neither of us could stop.
“We would sit in the car after going to the gym and we’d sit talking and laughing as we looked across the city.
“At home I realised we were finding excuses to touch and brush against each other, it was very flirtatious but nothing more than that happened at that stage.
“Although it was fairly innocent it was causing arguments. I can understand that. When I got in at night Sofiia would be the one who had made a meal for me to try.
“She told me privately, ‘Lorna is lucky to have you’.”
Lorna, who changed her surname by deed poll to match Tony’s but is not married to him, was becoming increasingly angry.
Tony continued: “She started to get very jealous and was having major arguments with Sofiia, asking her why she was with me all the time and ‘Why are you following him around?’.
“The atmosphere was getting really bad and Sofiia told me she didn’t know whether she could continue to live with us under these circumstances.
“Lorna was never that enthusiastic about having a refugee in our home because it meant the girls had to move into one room.
“But seeing that we were becoming close was too much. It came to a head last Saturday when she really went for Sofiia, yelling at her, using some harsh language that left her in tears.
“She said she didn’t feel she could stay under our roof any more and something inside me clicked.
“I told Lorna, ‘If she’s going, I’m going’. I knew I couldn’t give her up and all of a sudden it seemed like a no-brainer.
“We both packed our bags and moved into my mum and dad’s home together.”
The couple have started viewing properties, concentrating on trendy city centre apartments and have begun applying for a permanent visa for Sofiia.
Tony said: “I am so sorry for what Lorna is going through, this was not her fault and it was not about anything she did wrong.
“We never set out to do this, it wasn’t planned and we didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”
A friend of Lorna said: “She’s absolutely devastated.
“She was with Tony for ten years and in the space of ten days her family has been torn apart.”
Photo Credit: Getty