Wednesday, 24. September 2014
17. 07. 14. - 16:00
A Romanian man who discovered his wife was abusing their two-year-old daughter by teaching her to smoke and drink coffee while he was away working in Austria has managed to win custody of the child, but fears for the future because as a single parent he can no longer work abroad and take care of his daughter.
Gabriel Burulea, 30, said: "I had agreed with my wife that there was little chance of getting a decent job to provide for her and our daughter in Romania, so I went to Austria where I managed to get work as a labourer and send money back every month and my family. I was really shocked when I was looking at the news online and saw the images published in Romanian newspapers of my daughter smoking a cigarette."
He said that he had left his job and gone back to the family home in Arges, a county in central Romania, to confront his wife and demand an explanation.
The video of two-year-old Magdalena Burulea showed her mother encouraging her to smoke a cigarette and drink coffee and act like an adult. When the little girl says that her daddy had told coffee and cigarettes were not good for her, the mother asks her who she is more afraid of and encourages her pal who is also there to give the child coffee, saying: "Do it, give it to her!", "Come on, smoke! Do you see the smoke?"
The couple had a heated row and eventually split up, with Gabriel and his now ex-wife Elena, 29, battling it out in the divorce courts the custody of the child. It was eventually agreed on a shared custody with the father having her one week and the mother the next.
Shortly after the divorce hearing, the mother lost interest in the daughter and after consistently neglecting to collect her, local social services confirmed that custody had been awarded solely to the father.
He is now doing his best to raise the child as a single parent admits it's tough as his opportunities to work a limited and the only income he now has is a single parent allowance from the Romanian social services.
He said: "I was earning reasonably well in Austria and was hoping that we would save up enough to buy our own place but that all ended when I was forced to go back to Romania to challenge my wife over her treatment of our daughter."
Although the woman was questioned by social services over child cruelty the matter was never reported to police and the were no consequences for her over the incident.
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