The love-sick fiancée behind the wheel of last year’s infamous prison break has been blasted by one of her victims as being “selfish”, ignoring the consequences of her actions on her own family, as well as making it “all about her”.
In a dramatic event captured on film by bystanders, Lila Rose Mary Walto used a stolen Jeep to ram a Corrective Services car multiple times through the middle of Canberra to free Kane Quinn while he was being transported to hospital from jail on the afternoon of 9 July 2021.
The 29-year-old, who pleaded guilty to nine charges from the incident, later told police she was planning on running away with him and her children to start a new life together.
But on Thursday (21 July), the ACT Supreme Court heard while she had since tried to marry him several times when they were both in custody, their relationship was now over.
A statement from one of her victims was read to the court in which he said her actions had ended his 19-year career as a senior officer in Corrective Services due to the injuries and trauma he received.
He said she had an “unrealistic belief” that she would break Quinn out of custody, go to dinner with his mother then live a new life together.
The officer said he now dealt with chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
Several items of footage were played to the court which showed the Jeep pursuing and crashing into the Toyota Camry through the streets and Quinn getting out and running away.
“What is that car doing?” a child asks in one video as Walto crashes into the Camry again.
Walto, who has been in custody since her arrest that night as she has previously failed in her attempt to be released on bail, appeared in court in person and cried several times while giving testimony.
She said she had been drinking and smoking three points of the drug ‘ice’ until 10 am on the morning of 9 July before she embarked on what her barrister John Purnell SC called her “Bonnie and Clyde plan”.
Court documents said she and another woman went to a Fyshwick car dealership where she told a salesman she had a $100,000 loan to buy a Jeep Wrangler.
She took one for a test drive and pulled over on Majura Parkway saying she wanted to have a cigarette. While the salesman was looking at his phone, she and the other woman got back into the Jeep and sped off, crashing into a Mini Cooper that was leaving a nearby truffle farm as she did so.
She said that was at about 11 am, then she got fuel and “drove around a little bit” before the prison break at about 4 pm.
Quinn, 28, was in custody at the Alexander Maconochie Centre and had been telling staff that he’d swallowed a battery, so three staff members left for the Canberra Hospital with him that afternoon.
Walto told the court she knew what sort of car to look out for, a white Camry, and thought of where it would likely travel from jail to the hospital.
“[The plan was to] just hit the car once. I thought they’d pull over to swap details and my [alleged] co-offender was going to open the door for him to get out,” she said.
“I didn’t plan for any of what actually happened.”
She said once Quinn was in her Jeep, she drove away but didn’t know what suburb she was in so she pulled over, walked around for hours in the rain, and then arranged a lift to take her to a house in Lyneham.
She was there for about 20 minutes before police arrived and arrested her.
Mr Purnell asked what her plan had been once Quinn was freed.
“Start a new life, but it was unrealistic,” she admitted.
She said she didn’t expect she would end up ramming the Camry off the road or be putting the lives of the officers or her former fiancée at risk, but now felt “horrible” after learning about the injuries the officer who wrote a statement to the court had suffered.
But under cross-examination by Crown Prosecutor Margaret Smith, Walto admitted it was “fairly obvious” that ramming a Jeep into a much smaller car would put all passengers at risk.
A former chef, Walto now dreams of working in the construction industry and focusing on her two kids.
“I wanna work on myself first and be a mum for my children,” she said.
Justice David Mossop will hand down his sentence on Monday (25 July).
Quinn, also known as Kane McDowall, pleaded guilty to his role on Wednesday and will be sentenced in September.