> Canberra woman Lila Walto jailed for ramming ACT corrective services vehicle to break partner out of prison

Canberra woman Lila Walto jailed for ramming ACT corrective services vehicle to break partner out of prison

A brazen escape plan by a Canberra woman who wanted to spring her partner from prison has landed her with a six-year jail term.

Lila Walto, 29, pleaded guilty in the ACT Supreme Court to helping Kane Quinn escape as he was being escorted for medical treatment outside Canberra’s jail, where he had been serving time.

Walto repeatedly rammed the ACT corrective services car with a stolen four-wheel-drive to free Quinn, prompting a city-wide manhunt in July last year. 

The broad-daylight attack was captured by dashcam footage from passing cars, as people called triple-zero reporting a “horrible” road rage incident.

The 4WD was eventually found burnt out in the suburb of Forrest, and both Walto and Quinn were located at a home in Lyneham in Canberra’s north a few hours later.

‘Simple plan’ hatched after heavy drinking, drug taking

A police officer stands next to a smashed white sedan.
Walto smashed a four-wheel-drive into the corrective services car at least eight times. (Supplied: ACT Policing)

Walto told the court she had drunk copious amounts of alcohol and smoked ice from the early hours of the morning until about 10:00am on the day of the incident.

When asked why, she replied: “To feel numb, to deal with the stress.”

She told the court she did not feel in control of her decision making.

Her lawyer John Purnell quizzed her about how she came up with the idea.

“At 10:00am did you decide to embark on your Bonnie and Clyde plan with your boyfriend?” Mr Purnell asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

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Dashcam footage of Lila Walto ramming a corrective services car with a stolen 4WD.

Walto told the court that it was a simple plan, which began with her taking a four-wheel-drive for a test drive and then stealing it.

She said, she had hoped after hitting the car that corrections officers would get out to exchange details and Quinn would escape with her.

But video footage shows Walto driving the four-wheel-drive into the corrective services car at least eight times.

She told the court her plan was to start a new life.

“But it wasn’t realistic,” she said.

Injured corrections officer unable to work

Several police cars line a suburban street.
The stolen car used in the escape was found burnt out in Forrest. (Facebook: Nathan Burraston)

Walto also told the court she felt horrible about the impact her actions had had on the officers involved.

A victim impact statement read to the court told of how one officer, who was badly injured in the smash, now suffered PTSD and chronic pain, and had been unable to return to work.

He described the attack as a selfish act.

“It was all about you,” he said addressing Walto in the courtroom.

In handing down the sentence, Justice David Mossop said Walto’s plan involved “a lack of consequential thinking” and was volatile.

Justice Mossop said her “goal of uniting with her boyfriend … and having a happy life was never going to occur, nevertheless, she pursued it in her drug-affected state.”

Walto said she had since broken up with Quinn, and she was hoping to retrain to work in the construction industry.

She was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison and will be eligible for parole in March 2024.

Quinn has also pleaded guilty to his role in the escape.

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