29 November 2021

Police allege woman wanted to break fiancée out of jail and start a new life

| Albert McKnight
Lila Walto

Lila Rose Mary Walto, 28, has been charged over an alleged prison break. Photo: Facebook

Newly-released documents have revealed how police believe a short-lived prison break was pulled off in July this year.

Lila Rose Mary Walto, 28, represented herself when she made a bid for bail on Monday (29 November), telling the ACT Magistrates Court she wanted to go home so she could be with her family for the upcoming holidays.

“I would really, really like to see my kids for Christmas,” she said.

“If you can give me a chance, I can assure you, I will not let you down.”

Documents tendered to the court on the day allege Walto and another woman went to Gulson Car Dealership in Fyshwick at about 10:00 am on 9 July 2021. She claimed she had been approved for a $100,000 loan and wanted to buy a Jeep Wrangler.

She allegedly gave them a drivers licence that wasn’t in her name and the duo took a Jeep for a test drive with a staff member.

Police allege she pulled over on the Majura Parkway, saying she wanted to have a cigarette. Then, when the staff member was distracted by a phone call, she and the other woman got back into the Jeep and drove off without him, reportedly crashing into a Mini Cooper in the process.

Meanwhile, police said her fiancée, 28-year-old Kane Quinn, also known as Kane McDowall, was in custody at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

Police said on the morning of 9 July, Quinn told prison staff he had swallowed a battery and did not feel well.

Staff began arranging for him to be taken to the Canberra Hospital, even though they heard he allegedly wanted to collect drugs that had been left for him in “the area of a Wiggles poster or picture” at the hospital.

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A package police believe to be drugs was found in that area, but as Quinn was told this, he still insisted he had swallowed a battery, so at about 3:30 pm, three AMC staff members left the prison for the hospital with him in a Toyota Camry.

The Camry was driving along Hindmarsh Drive when it was hit from behind by a Jeep three times, causing it to spin out of control.

Staff called for help while the Jeep followed them into Griffith, still ramming them, although it stopped briefly to allow a woman to get out of the passenger seat.

The Camry was still being rammed before pulling up in Oxley Street, Kingston, then the staff and Quinn got out before the latter allegedly tried to run off, yelling, “she’s trying to kill me”.

The woman driving the Jeep yelled at him to get into the car. He allegedly managed to get away from staff and get inside the Jeep. The vehicle was later found on fire in Forrest.

That same night, at about 8:00 pm, police went to a house in Lyneham, which Walto left after a short negotiation.

While police were negotiating with several other people in the home to come outside, they said they heard noises coming from inside the roof.

They allegedly heard someone call out: “I’m not coming out until I’ve smoked all my drugs.”

They then heard the sound of power tools coming from inside the building’s crawl space.

Police said Quinn eventually left the house with a set of wrist cuffs still attached to his hand.

Walto was interviewed by police that night.

She allegedly told them it was “not Kane’s fault”, and she was planning on running away with Quinn to start a new life with him and her children.

“She also stated that she got to hug and kiss Mr McDowall,” police said.

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In court, prosecutor Margaret Smith said Walto had had many interactions with police before being arrested on these fresh charges.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker said she believed there was a strong prosecution case against Walto, and if convicted, she would likely face a lengthy jail sentence.

She said the accusations against her were “highly concerning” and, if proven, would demonstrate “very dangerous behaviour”.

Magistrate Walker refused bail, saying Walto would next appear in court on 10 January 2022.

It looked like Walto, appearing over audio-visual link, was about to cry before her link was disconnected from the courtroom.

Her charges include harbouring an escapee, assaulting a frontline community provider, arson, theft and rescuing a person from lawful custody using force. It is unclear whether she has entered pleas.

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