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Jail escapee offers to pay damages

The Alexander Maconochie Centre.

The Alexander Maconochie Centre. Photo: Elesa Lee

A prisoner who kicked out a jail cell window and climbed out into a yard in an attempt to stage a protest has offered to pay for the damage via an instalment plan.

Colin Booth pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday to damaging a triple pane glass cell window at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. The incident caused damage in excess of $1000.

Booth, of Hume, told Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker that he received $25 a week while in jail and would pay the $1030 bill off incrementally.

According to a statement of facts tendered in court, on August 13 last year Booth used an improvised flame, constructed from a piece of string from a mop dipped in baby oil, to melt the window frame of his medium to maximum security cell.

Booth then braced himself against a cupboard to kick out the glass pane.

The 28-year-old then climbed out the hole and used a hidden pitchfork and a small garden fork to break through sections of the interior fencing.

Booth hid in bushes after unsuccessfully attempting to climb onto the roof of the visits building.

A guard noticed the damage to the fence and started a head count and correctional officers found no response coming from Booth’s cell.

The sentenced prisoner ended the jaunt by using an intercom at one of the prison’s gates about 2.45am to call the control room, telling them he was cold and wished to be returned to his cell.

He was detained by guards without resistance or obstruction.

Booth told police that breaking out of his cell was not an attempt to escape the jail. He said his intention was to stage a protest about the lack of heating in his cell. He has not been charged with attempting to escape custody.

Booth, who self-represented at Thursday’s appearance, sought an adjournment so he could get legal advice.
Chief Magistrate Walker remanded Booth to reappear in March.

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