Two women charged over an attack on a service station customer who died after she was allegedly doused in scalding hot coffee and assaulted are likely to face manslaughter charges.
Andrea Madigan and Sarah Franklin, both aged 51, were due to face court this week on charges of reckless conduct causing serious injury over the February 8 incident inside a 7-Eleven service station in Caulfield, in Melbourne‘s south-east.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal those charges were struck out and finalised on May 5 with a view to them being upgraded by Victoria Police to manslaughter.
The woman, whose identity remains unknown, had died two days after the shocking attack, which was captured on CCTV within the service station.
A police source told Daily Mail Australia homicide squad detectives took over the case upon learning of the victim’s death.
All three of the women, who each were believed to be struggling with mental illness, were described by witnesses at the time as being of ‘large build’.
The final results of an assessment of the victim’s pre-existing medical conditions by forensic doctors will likely determine when or if the women face manslaughter charges.
It is understood homicide squad detectives are likely to handover their brief of evidence to the Department of Public Prosecutions with a view of charging the women with manslaughter.
Should prosecutors deem a Supreme Court of Victoria jury could not convict on the higher charge, Victoria Police are expected to look at charging the women yet again with the original assault charges.
‘If it gets to a point where detectives couldn’t lay a manslaughter charge or similar they can reinstate those original charges,’ the source said.
‘They need to be removed now so that the accused cannot plead-up to them.’
Daily Mail Australia has been told the victim had become abusive moments before she was allegedly doused in hot coffee and assaulted by Madigan and Franklin.
‘She was being racist,’ a source told Daily Mail Australia at the time.
Shop owners along Hawthorn Rd, where the 7-Eleven is positioned, claimed all three of the Caulfield women were well known to each other.
One witness described the ‘assault’ alleged against Madigan and Franklin as more like a ‘scuffle’.
Both of the alleged offenders had a clean criminal history until the deadly scuffle.
They were charged by Victoria Police detectives that night and released on bail from the watch house despite the victim’s status being listed as critical.
Those that claimed to know both of the accused described them as being ‘kind and courteous’.
‘They’re nice. They’re polite. We see them all the time. They behave, they have nice manners,’ one woman said.
Others expressed dismay at suggestions the alleged fight might have been sparked by racial slurs.
Caulfield is known for its large Jewish community, representing about half of Melbourne’s Jewish population.
‘I don’t think it (the alleged offence) had any connection to race or culture,’ a local shopkeeper said.
Recklessly causing serious injury charges in Victoria carry a maximum jail sentence of 15 years compared to 20 years for manslaughter.
Witnesses have told police a woman poured coffee over the victim and assaulted her before fleeing the scene on Hawthorn Road.
Extracted in full form: Caulfield, Melbourne: Women who ‘poured hot coffee’ on 7-Eleven customer who died face manslaughter | Daily Mail Online