Sat, Aug 03, 2013 - Page 6 News List

NZ couple whose triplets died in fire celebrate twins

NOT FORGOTTEN:The twins’ father, Martin Weekes, wept as he realized that his dead children would never get to meet the new babies

AP, WELLINGTON

A New Zealand couple whose 2-year-old triplets were killed last year in a mall fire in Qatar’s capital is celebrating the birth of twins.

Martin Weekes said Poppy, a girl, and Parker, a boy, were born on Wednesday by Cesarean section at 36 weeks. He said his wife, Jane, and the twins are healthy and hope to return home from Auckland’s North Shore Hospital next week.

He said he and Jane had mixed emotions about having more children after the deaths of Lillie, Jackson and Willsher in May last year.

‘DIFFICULT DECISION’

“It wasn’t a difficult decision based around the fact that Jane and I really love being parents,” he said. “But it was obviously a difficult decision in that you can never replace the children that you had and you never want to. You keep thinking, ‘Am I doing the right thing for Lillie, Jackson and Willsher?’”

Nineteen people died in the Doha blaze. Thirteen of the victims, including the triplets, were children attending a daycare center.

Investigators blamed faulty wiring. Qatar in June convicted five people over the fire, including one of the country’s diplomats, Sheik Ali Bin Jasim Thani Al Thani, and his wife.

The couple co-owned the daycare center. All of those convicted are currently free on appeal.

Weekes said he found it difficult to understand why they are not in jail.

“One of the prime defendants is still acting as Qatar’s ambassador to the European Union,” he said. “It’s frustrating, and difficult that we have to go through this again at the retrial.”

GOOD WISHES

However Weekes, 47, said he is focusing on the good wishes he has been getting from people around the world.

He said he found it particularly emotional when he first held the twins against his bare chest with a blanket over them.

It reminded him of a similar moment he shared with the triplets and he said he wept as he realized his dead children would never get to meet the new babies.

Weekes said the twins are getting to meet his three teenage children from an earlier marriage.

“Jane and I are overwhelmed with the human kindness of people in New Zealand and around the world, how happy they are for us,” he said. “It’s just amazing.”

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