EXCLUSIVE

A Jewish woman who attacked a 7-Eleven customer over an alleged racial slur has walked free despite her victim dying after the fatal fight.

Sarah Franklin, now aged 53, had a four-month prison sentence overturned after a County Court of Victoria judge found the sentencing magistrate had no right to jail the thug. 

In a surprising plea deal offered by Victoria Police, Franklin was instead allowed to admit one charge of common law assault over the deadly attack.

Two videos showed the moment Sarah Murphy, 52, lost consciousness while Franklin ignored her pleas for mercy inside the Caulfield service station, in Melbourne’s south-east on February 8, 2021.

She had taken offence to an alleged racist comment by Ms Murphy moments earlier when she allegedly said ‘Die, Jews!’, Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court was told last October.

Franklin and her mate Andrea Madigan had gone to the store to grab a coffee when Ms Murphy appeared to object to a man cutting in front of her.

Shocking footage of the attack has been revealed. Franklin pleaded guilty to common law assault

Shocking footage of the attack has been revealed. Franklin pleaded guilty to common law assault

An argument ensued before Franklin was seen tossing a cup of coffee over her victim.

In harrowing footage captured on CCTV video, Ms Murphy was seen bolting away from Franklin around an aisle before she was tackled.

The court heard Ms Murphy bit Franklin as they fell to the ground, grappling with each other.

‘Are you calm now?’ Franklin asked as she continued to hold Ms Murphy down for two minutes as her legs flailed about desperately.

Video captured by a witness showed Ms Murphy repeatedly pleading for help as Franklin knelt on her back.

‘I can’t breathe!’ she screamed.

‘Help, help me.’

CCTV footage showed Franklin and Ms Madigan grab their possessions and leave the service station.

The court heard Ms Murphy lost consciousness during the attack and died days later without ever waking up again.

The women were seen wrestling in the 7-Eleven

The women were seen wrestling in the 7-Eleven

A court heard the fracas began after victim Sarah Murphy allegedly said 'Die, Jews!'

A court heard the fracas began after victim Sarah Murphy allegedly said ‘Die, Jews!’

The two accused had faced manslaughter charges after initially being charged with recklessly causing serious injury.

Those charges were dropped while forensic doctors worked to find out exactly how Ms Murphy died.

The court heard the coroner struggled to work out Ms Murphy’s cause of death due to the eight-day delay in receiving her body and a range of pre-existing ailments.

The decision was further hampered by the coroner’s inability to work out if bruises to Ms Murphy’s body were caused by Franklin or the paramedics who tried to save her life.

Ms Murphy had traces of methamphetamine in her hair and had also suffered from asthma and other health issues.

When the charges returned to court they had been reduced to common law assault – a charge that carries a maximum sentence of just five years behind bars.

In October, Franklin pleaded guilty to the charge after accepting another deal from police prosecutors.

Ms Madigan had her charge struck out altogether on the same day.

She had been charged after allegedly holding Ms Murphy’s arm down as her friend of 20 years pinned her victim with a knee.

Despite the harrowing footage, Crown prosecutor Pranaven Pathmaraj asked Magistrate Stephen Lee not to jail Franklin.

Sarah Franklin threw hot coffee over her victim before pinning her down. She tried to hide her identity at the Moorabbin Magistrates' Court last year

Sarah Franklin threw hot coffee over her victim before pinning her down. She tried to hide her identity at the Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court last year 

Andrea Madigan leaves court on October 31 after having her charge struck out

Andrea Madigan leaves court on October 31 after having her charge struck out

When asked why, Mr Pathmaraj claimed Franklin had lived a faultless life before she was racially vilified by her victim.

‘Ms Franklin comes before the court at her age with no prior convictions, no prior form for violent offending whatsoever and of course there is that aspect to this case that she first reacts as a result of apparent racial taunt by the deceased,’ he said.

‘Essentially it explains why someone who hasn’t previously been in trouble with the police whatsoever comes to be engaged in such violent conduct.’

Mr Pathmaraj described the shocking attack as a ‘couple of minutes of bad behaviour’ on a single day.

Magistrate Lee continued to express concern about the prosecution deal that saw Franklin plead guilty on the day she planned to run a contested trial.

The court heard prosecutors made the deal on the provision Franklin accept the last two minutes of her assault against Ms Murphy was not self-defence.

Mr Lee pleaded for information on the dead woman, who he heard had all but been abandoned by her family and society.

Mr Pathmaraj revealed Ms Murphy had suffered from a variety of mental issues, including a borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia.

She had lived alone on a disability pension, was estranged from her two brothers and both of her parents were dead.

The 7-Eleven service station in Caulfield (pictured) where the tragic incident happened

The 7-Eleven service station in Caulfield (pictured) where the tragic incident happened

Forensic officers are seen at the service station after Ms Murphy was assaulted

Forensic officers are seen at the service station after Ms Murphy was assaulted

Mr Pathmaraj said the decision to pursue a mere common law assault charge came down to not being able to prove beyond reasonable doubt Ms Murphy died because of Franklin’s actions.

‘(Ms Murphy) did arrive at the hospital in an unconscious state but whether she was in that state as a result of the assault or some underlying condition, we cannot say,’ he said.

Mr Pathmaraj conceded Ms Murphy endured a ‘terrifying experience’ during her last moments awake.

‘Especially when her calls went unanswered. But beyond that, beyond the emotional impact that could be readily inferred from that matter in terms of physical impact of the crime, your honour can’t unfortunately make much of it,’ he said.

Franklin’s lawyer Greer Boe maintained the magistrate should make no consideration of Ms Murphy’s death in sentencing her client.

‘There is no evidence she caused the death of the victim,’ she said.

Ms Boe claimed her client had acted in self defence even as her victim begged to be released.

She has called for Franklin to be released on a good behaviour bond without conviction on the basis the attack was a ‘momentary lapse’.

On Thursday, County Court Judge Michael Tinney overturned Magistrate Lee’s sentence, allowing Franklin to walk free on a two-year good behaviour bond with conviction. 

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