Canberra woman Leila Walto jailed for electrocuting ACT corrective services vehicle to get her partner out of prison

A brazen escape plan by a Canberra woman who wanted to get her partner out of prison has landed her in prison for six years.

Lila Walto, 29, has pleaded guilty in the ACT Supreme Court to helping Ken Quinn escape while escorting him to medical treatment outside the Canberra prison, where he was serving time.

Walto repeatedly hit an ACT Corrective Services car with four-wheel-drive theft to free Quinn, leading to a citywide manhunt in July of last year.

The daylight attack was captured by dashcam footage from passing cars, with people describing Triple Zero reporting a “horrific” road rage incident.

A burnt out 4WD was eventually found in the suburb of Forest, and both Walto and Quinn were at a home in Lynham in North Canberra a few hours later.

“Simple Plan” appeared after heavy drinking and drug abuse

Walto has crashed an SUV into a corrective services car at least eight times. (Supplied: ACT . Police)

Walto told the court that she drank copious amounts of alcohol and smoked snow from the early hours of the morning until about 10:00 a.m. on the day of the accident.

When asked why, she replied, “To feel numb, to deal with pressure.”

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

Her attorney, John Burnell, questioned her about how she came up with the idea.

“At 10:00 in the morning, have you decided to embark on the Bonnie and Clyde plan with your friend?” asked Mr. Purnell.

She answered, “Yes.”

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Dashcam footage of Layla Walto hitting a corrective services car with a stolen SUV.

Walto told the court it was a simple plan, which began by taking her SUV for a test drive and then stealing it.

After the car crash, she said, she hoped that corrections officers would come out to exchange details and Quinn would run away with her.

But a video clip shows Walto driving the four-wheel drive into the CSC at least eight times.

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

“But it wasn’t realistic,” she said.

The injured corrections officer is unable to work

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

Walto also told the court that she was appalled by the effect her actions had on the officers involved.

A victim impact statement read to court spoke about how one officer, who was badly injured in the crash, now suffers from PTSD and chronic pain, and has 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 sentencing, Judge David Mossop said Walto’s plan involved a “lack of consequential reasoning” and was capricious.

Judge Mossop said her “goal to be united with her boyfriend…and to have a happy life would never be achieved, however, she pursued it in her drug-affected state.”

Walto said she has since split from Quinn, and was hoping to retrain her 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 also pleaded guilty to his role in the escape.

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