29 April 2022

Drunk on prison brew, inmate Keith Carberry's rampages caused $4 million damage

| Albert McKnight
Man in black kneeling in a park

Keith Ernest Frank Carberry (left) pleaded guilty to charges including robbery and arson. Photo: Facebook.

A woman was sleeping alone in a unit when she was woken up by three armed intruders, including two who went on to light fires and smash property at Canberra’s jail while drunk on prison brew in a “destructive rampage”, a judge has told the ACT Supreme Court.

Keith Ernest Frank Carberry, Garang Dau Deng and Marley Hall had already tried to break into a home in Narrabundah on 12 August 2020 before they entered the unit in Gordon in the early hours of the morning. They were armed with, respectively, two knives, a gun and a long metal weapon.

The woman, who was housesitting, woke to find the three in the bedroom and they demanded she give them money or drugs, but she said she didn’t have either.

Dau Deng pushed his gun into her face and said, “Do you want me to blow your brains out?”, while Hall pressed his weapon into her throat and demanded money.

Carberry didn’t threaten the woman with his knives, but searched the unit, stole items and put them in their car. He noticed police patrolling nearby so gestured at his co-offenders to leave.

They stole numerous items from the unit and the woman’s car.

READ ALSO ‘Two sides to the story’: Hayden Todkill pleads not guilty to charges related to Kingston stabbing

On Wednesday (27 April), Acting Justice Richard Refshauge told the ACT Supreme Court the woman had been so terrified she didn’t approach police, but she told her parents, who did go to the authorities.

Carberry has been in custody since he was refused bail in January 2021. But several months after that he participated in what Acting Justice Refshauge called “wanton and deliberate” destruction during a riot at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) on 12 May 2021.

He, Dau Deng and others were drunk at about 3 pm and their behaviour escalated to a stage where Corrective Services officers ordered a lock-in.

However, Carberry smashed a window at an officer station and lit a fire there using toilet paper. He and Dau Deng stoked the fire with clothing until the station was engulfed in flames.

Officers tried to put the blaze out, but the pair continued to throw items onto it, including a microwave. They also grabbed at the fire hose the officers were using to prevent them from putting out the fire.

After 8:30 pm, Carberry lit a towel on fire and used it to start a blaze with a boxing bag. ACT Fire and Rescue extinguished it, but he and Dau Deng reignited it.

READ ALSO Fake spy fraudster claims offending ‘justified’; levels sex abuse allegations against victim

Acting Justice Refshauge said the pair damaged property and threatened to kill officers’ families. Carberry imitated shooting at one with a bow and arrow, and a gun.

Carberry also assaulted four detainees. He pushed and chased one around their unit, knocked another onto the ground with a kick, pushed one’s face into a fence, and then threw a mug at another’s face that caused him to bleed.

He later reported he’d drunk a “prison brew” of unknown ingredients and didn’t remember the riot because he had blacked out.

Court documents say the cost to repair the damage to the AMC was $4.6 million. It was estimated repairs would take 12 months to complete.

Acting Justice Refshauge said Carberry wrote a letter to the court describing a life of hardships and challenges and saying how he wanted to provide for his daughter.

He apologised to the woman he terrorised in August 2020, saying it happened at the lowest point of his life.

She also wrote to the court, saying she felt sorry for him at times but that was overwhelmed by her pain and trauma.

READ ALSO Former CSIRO executive ‘lost everything’ after defrauding agency out of $320,000

Carberry, 24, a former employee of a demolition company, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated robbery, damaging property and arson, while charges of assault and attempted aggravated robbery were also taken into account.

He was sentenced to seven years’ jail, which ends in January 2028, and must serve three-and-a-half years before he is eligible to be released on parole in July 2024.

Acting Justice Refshauge described his offences as “quite unacceptable” and told him he needed to stop using drugs “if you’re going to be a father to your daughter”.

Hall, 27, has been sentenced over his role in the August 2020 crime, while 23-year-old Dau Deng pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, arson and damaging property and has also recently been sentenced.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.