Sara Connor back on Byron school run after Bali jail hell
Sara Connor has drawn a line under her past after being released from jail in Bali for her role in the fatal bashing of a local police officer.
The mother of two has been pictured for the first time starting to rebuild a new life in Brunswick, near Byron Bay, where she was seen sifting through her belongings in the garage of her new home last week.
It's a life far removed from the chaos of a female prison in Denpasar where she spent four years.
Now back in Australia, the former hostel receptionist, 49, is studying a TAFE business management course and finding solace ferrying her sons - aged 15 and 11 - to and from school.
But friends say she is struggling with the tranquillity of the small coastal town, after sharing her prison quarters with 40 inmates and sleeping on camping mattresses.
"She puts everything she puts down on a table in her pocket, thinking someone will take it, like they would in jail," security consultant and friend John McLeod told The Daily Telegraph.
"She says she regrets ever going to Bali and was in the wrong place at the wrong time with a crazy man she wishes she had never met.
"Since her release from jail she's been gardening, studying to pursue a business degree to get into hospitality and restoring her rented home.
"She eats at 4pm on the dot because that's what she did in jail and is trying to come to terms again with the freedom of choice.
"For her it's about spending time with her two boys whom she adores, doing the school run, taking them to rugby, and having mealtimes with them.
"She's very excited and preparing for Christmas with the family - just being there with them for their first Christmas together in four years means everything after her time in jail.
"The Balinese authorities nearly deported her back to Italy because she entered on an Italian passport but she has dual citizenship with Australia and pleaded with them to let her back so she could be with her boys."
Connor was released from Kerobokan Prison three months ago after serving four years in relation to the brutal death of police officer Wayan Sudarsa in 2016.
She underwent two weeks quarantine at Sydney International hotel which afforded her the "peace and quiet to sort out her mind" before returning to Byron, Mr McLeod said.
The Italian-born divorcee maintains that she was attempting to separate her British DJ boyfriend David Taylor from Sudarsa after a fight broke out between them on Legian Beach.
The veteran officer suffered 42 wounds to his body, including more than a dozen to his head and neck. Forensic experts said he died on the beach several hours after the fight.
Taylor, 37, admitted to bashing the officer with a mobile phone, binoculars, his fists and a beer bottle but argued he was acting in self-defence.
He was found guilty of group assault leading to death and sentenced to six years jail.
Connor insists she "never harmed the victim" but admitted to destroying the officer's ID cards and helping Taylor burn their bloodied clothes.
In her final plea to the judges during her trial at Denpasar District Court, her defence team said she was only guilty of destroying evidence, which carried a maximum seven-month jail term.
She was found to have put her arm around the policeman's neck and sat on his stomach and was convicted of fatal assault in company.
She now regrets her decision to embark on a romantic break with Taylor, known as DJ Nutzo, whom she had met three months earlier.
Friends say Connor, who is originally from northern Italy, had got in with "the wrong types" after meeting the British-born DJ through friends while she manned the reception at the popular Nomad Arts Factory Lodge, a bustling backpackers' hostel.
The two embarked on a whirlwind romance and several weeks later she left her business, Byron Bay Fresh Pasta, which she ran from the garage of her family home, to holiday with Taylor. She had been buoyed by a second chance at love after her marriage broke down months earlier.
It was around that time that she got a part time job at the backpackers' lodge and a tattoo of a dragon and flowers on her arm.
"She was just ready for a change and was open to it, but unfortunately she met Taylor and her life took an unpredictable turn she now regrets," a friend said.
Originally published as Sara Connor back on Byron school run after Bali jail hell