Dad to have Christmas with his two kids who vanished in 2014
LOVING father Harry Speath knew the cruelty of life would make him a stranger to his own children after they dramatically disappeared from his life three years ago.
Yesterday, just five days from Christmas, Australian Federal Police returned his children Serena, 9, and Thomas, 8, to his arms.
As the Brisbane father tried to reconnect with his pigeon pair, their mother Jane Adare, found in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland by investigators, appeared before the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Brisbane.
Mr Speath, 61, was last night making up for lost time. Last time he saw his little ones, Serena had a bob haircut, a missing upper right front tooth and her left front tooth was chipped. His grief, now comes second to his children's shell-shock, confusion and tears and heartbreak.
Three years ago, Serena was his effervescent little girl who was a bit reticent around strangers, while Thomas was more laid back and practical.
A court statement said Thomas was distressed to leave his dad when Adare picked them up from her estranged husband's home on December 5, 2014.
Mr Speath never gave up hope and set up a Facebook page to help find his children, and didn't know if they were in Australia or the other side of the world in the United Kingdom. He was unable to be contacted yesterday but just days ago, he reflected on the three-year anniversary of his children's disappearance.
"Today I am reflecting on a monumental milestone in the time line since the abduction of my children by their mother.
"It is three years exactly since the last time I saw my children. It is three years exactly since the last time I have spoken to my children.
"It is three years exactly since I've obtained any news as to their education, health, wellbeing and so many other things that any concerned parent takes for granted.
"It's been three sets of birthdays (both theirs and mine), Christmases, Easters, Father's Days, three years worth of holidays, countless visits to their paternal grandmum, aunt and indeed their half brother's visits from his overseas work assignments. In that time, none of us has had the normal family pleasures taken for granted by normal folks.
"So what can I say to my children on this horrid anniversary? I guess all I can say is that I don't know when I'll see you guys. I hope it's soon. I know you guys don't know what all the above stuff is about, and I don't expect you to - until you are much, much older.
"In the meantime. I love you both very, very much. I'm sending you guys many, many, many hugs & kisses across the miles between us, no matter how far."
Over the years, he would burn candles for them and post messages for them on social media.
"What we are doing is burning candles for Serena and Thomas and they are getting a little lower because they've been burned quite a bit.
"So they flicker nicely and I hope Serena and Thomas get to see this because of course it's for them, representing their daddy's love for them as we hope we'll see each other soon."
In 2015, he spoke to The Courier-Mail about his heartache and desperation to find his children.
"Obviously as time goes on it's a bit distressing,'' he said the time.
"It's not knowing where they are, whether or not they're being educated.''
He said he missed out on spending Christmas with the pair and was banking on being reunited before Serena's birthday on March 29 and Thomas's on April 27.
"I've got lots of presents for them. I've still got the Christmas tree up,'' he said at the time.
"Just not having them around is a bit difficult.''