A Ukrainian refugee who ran off with her UK sponsor while staying with his family has denied being a ‘homewrecker.’
Sofiia Karkadym, 22, fled Lviv and moved in with Tony Garnett, 29, his wife Lorna, and their two children in Bradford at the start of May to escape the war in her country. But Mr. Garnett quickly fell for her and left his wife for her after ten days, moving with her into his parents’ home.
The family had taken Sofiia in an effort to do their bit to help Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, with Tony telling The Sun he ‘wanted to do the right thing’ and that she was the first person to get in touch on a Facebook page where he offered to house a refugee.
Now, Mr. Garnett said he has fallen in love with Miss Karkadym and wants to spend the rest of his life with her.
Miss Karkadym insisted that she is not to blame for the breakdown of her sponsors’ relationship.
She told The Sun: ‘That never crossed my mind. I liked the family. I spent a lot of time with Lorna and I tried to help her. But she was two-faced.
‘Her constant suspicions, the tension, it just pushed me and Tony closer together.
‘She created this situation by constantly suggesting something was going on when it wasn’t. So this is her fault.’
Yesterday, jilted mother Lorna Garnett shared her anger after she let the Ukrainian woman into her home.
Mrs. Garnett says she was left heartbroken after her husband decided to leave her for their guest.
Speaking to the Sun on Sunday, Mrs. Garnett said she believes Miss Karkadym ‘set her sights on Anthony from the start, decided she wanted him and she took him’.
She added: ‘She didn’t care about the devastation that was left behind. Everything I knew has been turned on its head in the space of two weeks.’
Mrs. Garnett told the newspaper she had reservations about the scheme but felt it was the right thing to do after seeing the ‘terrifying’ situation in Ukraine on the news.
She said: ‘I decided it was the right thing to do to put a roof over someone’s head and help them when they were in desperate need.
‘And this is how Sofiia has repaid me for giving her a home.’
Miss Karkadym, who works as an IT manager, flew into Manchester on May 4 after waiting for weeks in Berlin for her UK visa to be approved.
Mr. Garnett said he and his guest quickly developed a connection, and while his six-year-old and three-year-old daughters also took a liking to her, his partner of 10 years did not.
Mr. Garnett, who speaks Slovakian, would talk with his future lover while she spoke Ukrainian, as the two languages are mutually intelligible.
However, this left his wife not understanding what they were talking about.
‘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,’ Mr Garnett said.
As the days passed Miss Karkadym would join Mr. Garnett at the gym and they would talk in his car, while at home they grew physically closer.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
As the pair got closer and closer, his wife became ‘very jealous’ Mr. Garnett says, and began to question why Miss Karkadym was following him around all the time.
‘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,’ he said.
‘Lorna was never that enthusiastic about having a refugee in our home because it meant the girls had to move into one room.’
Things came to a head after an explosive row between the women left Miss Karkadym in tears and saying she no longer felt like she could no longer live in the same house.
Mr. Garnett said ‘something inside me clicked’ and he told his wife ‘If she’s going, I’m going’.
The pair then packed their bags and moved in with his mother and father, although they are looking at properties to move into.
After their relationship of 10 years ended in the space of just 10 days, Tony says he feels bad and that Lorna is not to blame.
‘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.’